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Full text of "The independent"

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 






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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY $3 



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LICATION OF THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDEi 



\AKER. 



Technicolor 

Hollywood ■ London ■ Rome ■ New York 




EAST COAST DIVISION 

Salutes the future of our Industry 
THE INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER 



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1 HIS ISSUE OF THE INDE- 
PENDENT is dedicated to the 
memory of Ray Navarro, a friend, 
contributor to the magazine, and 
our former editorial assistant. Al- 
though barely 26 years old when 
he died from an AIDS-related 
illness on November 9, Ray had 
already assumed a leading role 
among media activists in New 
York City and had begun to es- 
tablish a national reputation as an 
advocate for film and video work 
concerned with social change. 

He galvanized the Latino cau- 
cus at last fall's Show the Right Thing con- 
ference on distribution with his knowledge- 
able and lucid arguments for using media to 
educate communities about AIDS. Soon af- 
ter, he assembled a series of such work for the 
San Antonio Cinefestival, where he again 
spoke eloquently about the importance of 
this effort. He organized community-based 
screenings of films and tapes dealing with 
AIDS for Media Network, while also work- 
ing as the outreach coordinator for New York 
Citizens' Committee for Responsible Me- 
dia, the city's advocacy organization for 
public access on cable TV. He was a found- 
ing member of the collective DIVA TV 




(Damned Interfering Video Activists Televi- 
sion), an affinity group within the AIDS 
Coalition to Unleash Power, ACT UP. And 
he produced his own personal art work as 
well. 

Ray was an artist and a scholar, infusing 
his videomaking and activism with a keen 
sense of style and intellectual rigor. Like- 
wise, he brought these qualities to his writ- 
ings for this magazine and other publica- 
tions, where he contributed an impressive 
number of articles. We miss his brilliance, 
his exuberance, and his passion for justice. 
We miss him at The Independent — and in the 
world. 



AN AIVF MEMBER IS ONE IN A MILLION. 
LITERALLY. 

One in every one million people is an AIVF member. Use The AIVF Membership 
Directory to put yourself in touch with over 4000 individuals and organizations. 

Listings organized alphabetically within geographic regions — so you can quickly locate 
and contact media professionals in your area. Cross-referenced by skills — so you can 
easily assemble a crew, no matter where you're shooting. 

Order your copy by sending a check or money order or charging by telephone to your 
Visa/Mastercard: $9^95 for AIVF members; $14-95 for non-members. 

AIVF Publications, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012; (212) 473-3400. 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 
VOLUME 14, NUMBER 1 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 
Art Director: 
Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Janice Drickey 
Mark Nash 
Karen Rosenberg 
Toni Treadway 
Clare O'Shea 
Chris Batista 
Jeanne Brei 
Christopher Holme 
Laura D. Davis 
(212)473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ 07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published 10 times yearly by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 
625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212) 
473-3400, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational foun- 
dation dedicated to the promotion of video and film, 
and by the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals involved in inde- 
pendent video and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and professional services 
for independents and the general public. Publication of 
The Independent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and 
the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned unless a 
stamped, self-addressed envelope is included. No 
responsibility is assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to 
the editor. Letters may be edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, Inc. Reprints require written 
permission and acknowledgement of the article's pre- 
vious appearance in The Independent. ISSN 0731- 
5198. The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 1991 



AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Mary Jane Skalski, membership/pro- 
gramming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director; Morton Marks, audio/business manager; Carol 
Selton, administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Eugene 
Aleinikoff,* Adrianne Benton,* Skip Blumberg (vice 
president), Christine Choy, Dee Davis (secretary), Loni 
Ding, Lisa Frigand,* Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (chair), Jim Klein, 
Regge Life,* Tom Luddy,* Lourdes Portillo, Robert Richter 
(president), Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage,* 
Jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, Debra Zimmerman (treasurer). 



* FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 








W^^M 




COVER; hi Brazil, tw Koyapo people 
use modem technology to preserve 
their cumire and communicate amongst 
themselves and with the outside world, 
Here, chief Rap m tap e re co rds a 
message to another v$oge, 
repnmanatng them rw allowing gold 
prospectors on their land, hi this issue, 
anthropologist Terence Turner 
discusses his work with the Koyapo 
and their approach to video- Abo 
featured is Brazilian critic Arlindo 
Machado's review on the work of two 
avant-garde video collective* in Sao 
Paolo. P h o to court e s y duwu dn 
Television Ud. 



FEATURES 

30 Inside Out and Upside Down: Two Brazilian Video Groups— TVDO 
and Olhar Eletronico 
by Arlindo Machado 

34 Visual Media, Cultural Politics, and Anthropological Practice: Recent 
Uses of Film and Video Among the Kayapo of Brazil 

by Terence Turner 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

MAD Money: NEA Announces New Media Fund 

by Patricia Thomson 

Sun Shines on Florida Independents 

by Renee Tajima 

Independent Series in Limbo as PTV Revamps 

by Andrew Blau 

KERA's Open Door Policy 

by Andrea Boardman 

ITVS to Issue First RFP 

San Francisco Commission: Boon or Bureaucracy? 

William T. Kirby: 1911-1990 

by Joyce Bolinger 

Sequels 

14 FIELD REPORTS 

Short Subjects/Social Impact: The Direct Effect Public Service 
Announcements 

by Bill Horrigan 

Breathless: A Beginner's Guide to the 1990 Independent Feature 
Market 

by Amy Beer 

The Big Picture: The 1990 World Wide Video Festival 

by Christopher Hoover 

23 TALKING HEADS 

An Epic of an Epoch: Ken Burns Discusses The Civil War 

by Rob Edelman 

Civil Skirmishes: Mark Kitchell on Berkeley in the Sixties 

by Janice Drickey 

42 IN FOCUS 

What the Manual Didn't Tell You: Graphics II— Video Painting 

by Rick Feist and Mechtild Schmidt 

46 LEGAL BRIEFS 

Now a Word about Our Sponsor: A Guide to Fiscal Sponsorship 
Agreements 

by Robert L. Seigel 

49 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

52 FESTIVALS 

by Karhryn Bowser 

57 CLASSIFIEDS 

58 NOTICES 

60 MEMORANDA 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 3 



MEDIA CUPS 



ymtjv 



NEA ANI ?OE 



- , .. _- ■ ■•■ *• : .. : 




IAFUND 



1 don't wccnt to see 
media carts centers 
run to the end of 
their course," says 
NEA Media 
Program director 
Brian O'Doherty, 
explaining the new 
Media Arts 
Development Fund. 
"It could absolutely 
happen in this 
harsh funding 
environment." 



A new pilot program has been established by the 
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Media 
Program and will be administered by the National 
Alliance of Media Arts Centers (NAMAC). With 
at least $250,000 in program funds and another 
$50,000 for administration, the Media Arts De- 
velopment Fund — or MAD Fund — has been set 
up to assist small, emerging, and culturally di- 
verse organizations, providing grants of $3,000 to 
$10,000. 

"We're looking for groups who saw the NEA 
as impossible to apply to," says MAD Fund pro- 
gram assistant Julian Low, hired by NAMAC to 
run the first year of the program. Low, a producer 
who was formerly administrative director of the 
Asian American Resource Workshop in Boston 
and a project director at the National Asian 
American Telecommunications Association, is 
aiming to attract groups previously considered 
too local to compete, as well as cultural organiza- 
tions with a media component. In addition, the 
fund would target small media arts organizations 
that have received on-again, off-again support 
from the NEA. As Media Program director Brian 
O'Doherty explains, "While we fund some small 
or minority organizations, many didn't get the 
kind of special attention they should have had. 
There's no place within the NEA to cultivate 
smaller organizations and help them grow." 

While the competition will still be tough, it will 
be "more fair," believes Low, since applicants 
won't be competing head-to-head with major 
players like the Museum of Modern Art or the 
UCLA Film and Television Archives. In addition, 
the fund's panelists will presumably be closer to 
the media arts field and more sensitive to the 
needs of smaller organizations than their counter- 
parts on the NEA's national panels. There will 
also be more ethnic and regional diversity in the 
panels' make-up, according to Low, who will 
make recommendations to the NAMAC board for 
their selection of panelists. 

O'Doherty says he has been thinking about 
starting such a fund for many years. So why did it 
come about now? O'Doherty responds, "I'm 
worried about the future of media arts. I don't 
want to see media arts centers run to the end of 
their course — formed in the counterculture of the 
sixties, grow in the seventies, flourish in the 
eighties, and die in the nineties. It could absolutely 
happen in this harsh funding environment." 
O'Doherty denies that the discussions last spring 
between NEA chair John Frohnmayer and conser- 



vative members of Congress about restructuring 
the NEA were a catalyst for the MAD Fund's 
formation. At that time there was serious talk 
about steering the NEA toward a greater emphasis 
on established national organizations — institut- 
ing minimum grant levels of $50,000, as well as 
passing more of the NEA's appropriated funds on 
to the states for local projects. Both might have a 
devastating effect on the media arts. Rarely if ever 
do media arts organizations receive federal grants 
at that level, and most state arts councils do not 
have a separate department for media. 

O'Doherty also had a second incentive. This 
was his interest in raising NAMAC 's profile within 
the field. O'Doherty and the NEA's support of 
NAMAC — both financial and moral — dates back 
to NAMAC 's beginnings. It was O'Doherty who 
first floated the idea of a national umbrella organi- 
zation for media arts centers, approaching the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film in 
1978 with $15,000 and a matching amount from 
the Rockefeller Foundation to administer such an 
organization. After a series of discussions within 
the field, NAMAC was voted into existence as 
an independent entity in 1980, with the NEA's 
backing. 

Since then NAMAC has worked with the NEA 
on several projects, administering the Technical 
Assistance Program for seven years and the 
Management Assistance Program for six, both 
with budgets of $50,000. (The latter is being 
folded into the MAD Fund.) Based on this track 
record, the NEA decided that NAMAC could 
effectively manage the new fund. 

The $300,000 for this project will not drain 
money from other areas within the Media Pro- 
gram, O'Doherty insists. In fact, the Media Pro- 
gram is better off by $100,000 overall than it was 
a year ago, says O'Doherty, due to the influx of 
additional monies "from the chair and from out- 
side the department." And the $250,000 in MAD 
program funds may grow. O'Doherty would like 
to see the MAD Fund attract outside support, 
much like some of the regional fellowship pro- 
grams, on which the MAD Fund was modeled 
in part. 

O'Doherty says the NEA's commitment is "for 
the long-term." But the nature and longevity of 
this project and the arrangement with NAMAC 
may well depend upon the success of additional 
fundraising during this pilot year and on the eval- 
uation Low will subsequently complete of the 
program's outreach to groups outside the regular 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



NVI... 




The Most Powerful Editing Team in Town. 

(L-R) Paul Green, Jerry Newman, Abe Lim, Art Dome, Kathy Schermerhorn, Rich Thomas, John Tanzosh, Dan Williams, 
Doug Tishman, Bruce Tovsky, Phil Fallo, Robert Burden, Phil Reinhardt, Barry Waldman, Phil Falcone, Sean McAll 



With the largest, most experienced and 
best equipped staff in town, it's no wonder 
that our editorial work has increased by 
50% in the last year. And it continues to 
grow. This year we'll be editing a new 
prime time network sitcom which is being 
shot in New York, and all of the material 
for inclusion in the Miss America Pageant 
in September. In the past year we've edited 
commercials for Mercedes-Benz, Grand 
Union, TWA, ShopRite, Oldsmobile, 
Contac, and A&P as well as shows for HA!, 
Lifetime Medical, The Comedy Channel, 
Met Life, The Art Market Report, Toshiba, 
IBM, and LTV. 

And even in these difficult times, you'll 
find that we continue to improve the 
working environment for our primary 
customer, the independent producer who 
is working with his or her own money. On 
the culinary side, we added a better 
lunchtime menu, and cookies and fruit in 
the afternoon. On the equipment side we 
added five more D-2 machines, a Rank 
with Sunburst II for color correcting film 



and tape, an AMS AudioFile and audio 
recording booth, color cameras for the 7 
on-line edit rooms, and computerized off- 
line editing to the seventh floor. Speaking 
of floors, we'll be utilizing the second floor 
of our building on 17th Street for the first 
time in the coming year, bringing to a total 
of ten, the floors used for NVI customers 
and the necessary support services. 

In terms of equipment, you'll be seeing the 
introduction of the first all D-2 editing 
suite in New York City with the installation 
of The Abekas A-82 Switcher in Edit A this 
fall, as well as the the addition of the 
exciting new Digital F/X Composium and 
Wavefront 3D animation to our established 
electronic graphics department. 

And without knowing what our competit- 
ors are up to all the time, you can still rest 
assured that you are getting the most 
experience, the best equipment and the 
most accommodating service at the lowest 
possible price. If you want some help on 
your next project, call NVI! 



NVI 



National Video Industries, Inc. 

15 West 17th Street 

New York, NY 10011 

212 691-1300 Fax: 633-8536 




FIGURES 




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"Made by rephotographing original 
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"He sings the erotic song of the 
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loop, as well as its overall effectiveness, based on 
feedback from the field. 

Applications for this first round will be re- 
viewed by the National Council at their meeting in 
February. For further information, contact: Julian 
Low, Media Arts Development Fund, 480 Po- 
trero, San Francisco, CA; (415) 861-4107. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

SUN SHINES ON FLORIDA 
INDEPENDENTS 

The Florida Arts Council and Division of Cultural 
Affairs is gearing up for a new equipment access 
program. This will be an expansion of its Individ- 
ual Media Arts Fellowship program, which al- 
ready provides grants to state media artists. Ac- 
cording to fellowship director Norman Easter- 
brook, in its pilot year the new project will offer 
Florida artists video and audio editing facilities at 
the Florida State University School of Motion 
Picture, Television, and Recording Arts in Sara- 
sota. Equipment will be available at no cost during 
off-prime hours to selected applicants. Easter- 
brook is also rounding up additional access pro- 
viders from local commercial houses and film 
studios, with the ultimate goal of involving the 
Florida studio facilities of Walt Disney and Warner 
Brothers in the program. Still in its planning 
stages, actual fellowships probably won't begin 
until October 1 99 1 . Easterbrook hopes to have the 
guidelines and application forms ready by the end 
of December 1990, in time for the February 22 
deadline. Contact: Norman Easterbrook, Division 
of Cultural Affairs, Florida Arts Council, Dept. of 
State, The Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250; 
(904) 487-2980. 

RENEE TAJIMA 

INDEPENDENT SERIES IN 
LIMBO AS PTV REVAMPS 

Independent and minority producers can't help 
but be a little nervous about the funding and 
scheduling changes underway in public televi- 
sion. No one seems ready or able to spell out what 
their role will be as public television seeks to 
become more nimble in the marketplace and more 
visible in US homes. 

Facing increasing competition from cable serv- 
ices that are horning in on public TV's turf as well 
as congressional pressure to restructure national 
production expenses, last year the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting, the Public Television Serv- 
ice, and the National Association of Public Tele- 
vision Stations agreed to centralize the schedul- 
ing, funding, and marketing of public TV's pro- 
grams. The unwieldy bureaucracy of old would be 
replaced by an agile coordinated system under the 
control of a single chief programming executive, 
Jennifer Lawson. Lawson is being advised by the 
newly created National Program Policy Commit- 
tee (NPPC), a 17-member body that includes 
representatives from CPB, PBS, the stations, plus 



As a result of the restructuring of public 

television, funding for ongoing series is 

now up to PBS's chief programming 

executive, Jennifer Lawson. This affects 

independent showcases like P.O.V., which 

programs such work as Ari Marcopoulos 

and Maja Zrnic's film on a 14-year old 

drummer, Larry Wright. 

Photo: Ari Marcopoulos, courtesy P.O.V. 



two from the National Coalition of Independent 
Public Broadcasting Producers (Lillian Jimenez 
and Marlon Riggs) and two from the National 
Minority Consortia (Frank Blythe and Dai Sil 
Kim-Gibson). 

Under the agreement, Lawson will manage 
half of CPB's $45-million Television Program 
Fund in addition to the $74.7-million stations 
currently spent on programming. PBS's share of 
Program Fund money will go to established se- 
ries, while CPB will use the other half to develop 
new programming. Ken Burns' The Civil War 
was the new system's first big success, with 
coordinated scheduling and advanced, heavy 
promotion resulting in the highest ratings ever for 
a PBS series. 

But some independent and minority producers 
are concerned about the lack of any defined role 
for independents in the new scheme or clear plan 
for how the priority of "multiculturalism" will 
translate into programming. While Lawson has 
been heard calling for more bold, innovative work 
that will reach out beyond public TV's current 
audience, there are also signs that the centralized 
system will emphasize series and the mainstream. 
Among the programs in the pipeline or being 
considered for development by PBS, for instance, 
are a children's geography game show and a 
dramatic mini-series. 

By written agreement, CPB and PBS agreed to 
put funding for six series into PBS ' hands: Ameri- 
can Playhouse and American Experience — series 
that commission and acquire independent pro- 
ductions — plus Wonderworks, Frontline, Mac- 
NeillLehrer Newshour, and Great Performances. 
But that left five series, including independent 
showcases P.O.V. and Alive from Off Center, in 
apparent funding limbo. In November PBS an- 
nounced that it would provide support for P.O.V. 
and American Masters, among other programs. 
However, PBS is cutting American Playhouse 
back from a weekly to a monthly series beginning 
fall 1991. Alive from Off Center, Long Ago and 
Far Away, and several other series previously 
funded by CPB are still "in the middle somewhere," 
says Don Marbury, director of CPB's Program 
Fund. Although Marbury may be able to carve out 
money for some of these shows next season, there 
are no guarantees. And if CPB doesn't fund them, 
they will have to find money elsewhere. 

Will PBS continue to fund P.O.V., American 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



o 




. ■■■■■ 




3HL 



AM 




7/Vlv 




Experience, and other independent works over the 
long term? P.O. V. executive producer Marc Weiss 
is confident that it will — even though there is no 
legislative mandate for PBS to support indepen- 
dent productions, as there is for CPB. Pointing to 
Lawson ' s support for The ' 90s and The Civil War, 
Weiss notes, "Jennifer is fairly savvy about the 
roles independents can play on public television/' 
PBS spokesperson Rob Deigh insists that "inde- 
pendents continue to be an important part of the 
public television process" and assures indepen- 
dents that the new arrangement doesn't mean 
there will be a "housecleaning of any kind." 

But members of the NPPC who represent inde- 
pendents and people of color are concerned nev- 
ertheless. Jimenez notes that there doesn't seem to 
be any "vision of how to integrate independents 
into the system. At least there is a plan and vision 
for children's television; there's nothing like it for 
independents." Fellow NPPC member Kim-Gib- 
son says that after extensive discussion, the group 
could not even agree on the meaning of "inde- 
pendent" and finally "agreed to disagree" over 
whether programming such as Frontline is inde- 
pendent — a classification independents have ar- 
gued against for years, based on questions of final 
cut, copyright, and budget control. 

How multiculturalism will be implemented 
also worries Kim-Gibson and Jimenez. Accord- 
ing to Kim-Gibson, the reigning opinion on the 
NPPC seems to favor mainstreaming, holding that 
any single "ethnic" point of view limits the audi- 
ence and is of special interest only to the group 
whose culture is depicted. 

Lawson told both Jimenez and Kim-Gibson 
that she wants to meet with leaders of the National 
Coalition and the five minority production con- 
sortia to discuss these issues. Meanwhile Kim- 



Gibson and Jimenez, along with Riggs and Bly- 
the, will continue to press for the concerns of 
producers of color and independents on the NPPC. 
But as Jimenez observes, "Everybody's waiting 
for something to happen." At its last meeting, the 
NPPC gave Lawson a vote of confidence, which 
for the independent and minority representatives 
was "conditional." They're waiting to see some 
improvement in how PBS addresses these issues. 

ANDREW BLAU 

Andrew Blau analyzes communication policy 
matters at the Center for Telecommunications 
and Information Studies at Columbia University. 

KERA'S OPEN DOOR POLICY 

"Some of the best programming on public TV 
comes from independents. They are innovative, 
bold, and show passion for their subjects," attests 
KERA-TV's Sylvia Komatsu with great enthusi- 
asm. Komatsu is director of TV Programming and 
executive producer of News Addition, a weekly 
news magazine on the Dallas-area public televi- 
sion station. "We need major series like The Civil 
War, but we also need smaller programs that give 
insight," she asserts. 

Komatsu came to realize there was a larger in- 
dependent production community in the Dallas 
area than she had imagined after attending a 
presentation by representatives of the Indepen- 
dent Television Service (ITVS) held last summer 
in Dallas, which was hosted by the Video Asso- 
ciation of Dallas, a three-year-old organization 
promoting Texas independent videomakers. 
Everyone was surprised at the turnout. About 1 25 
people showed up, most with ideas for indepen- 
dent productions. 



' I I I I 

ARBOR 

FIL/W 

FESTIVAL 



Entry deadline: February 15, 1991 

Entry fees for each film: 

$25 U.S entries 

$30 foreign entries 

1 6mm independent and experimental 

films are eligible. No videotapes are 

accepted for prescreening. 



Call or write for entry form: 

Ann Arbor Film Festival 

P.O. Box 8232 

Ann Arbor, Ml 48107 

313-995-5356 




annual 




GREAT 

WORKS 

WANTED 



We're a nationally acclaimed 

distributor of film and 

video programs on 

health care, sexuality, 

mental health, family life and 

related issues — and we're looking 

for some great new works. 

(And so are our customers.) 

Give us a call and tell us about 
your latest production. 

TANLIGIIT 

PBODUCTIONS 

47 Halifax Street • Boston, MA 021 30 

617-524-0980 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 7 



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{transcripts. (212) 877-1852 I 



Bart Weiss, director of the Video Association 
and board member of the Association of Indepen- 
dent Video and Filmmakers, saw an opportunity 
for dialogue. He approached Komatsu at the ITVS 
meeting, and within weeks they began holding 
regular introductory meetings for independents 
and key people at KERA-TV to share information 
and ideas. "We've opened a window of opportu- 
nity," says Weiss. 

On average 10 independents are invited to each 
meeting. They spend an hour or more with key 
decision-makers on KERA's programming staff: 
in addition to Komatsu, there is producer/unit pro- 
duction manager Suzanne Dooley, program di- 
rectorBill Young, and director of Program Devel- 
opment, Marketing, and Contracts Deanna 
Collingwood. The producers get to discuss their 
areas of interest, and station reps inform them of 
ways in which KERA can offer support, while 
also explaining procedures and guidelines. Weiss 
and Komatsu plan to continue this series of meet- 
ings until everyone who attended the ITVS gath- 
ering (and some who did not) has had an opportu- 
nity to talk with KERA staff. 

KERA has presented independents with a 
number of potential options: commissioned work; 
coproductions involving partial funding and/or 
use of station equipment and facilities; acquisi- 
tion of finished programs; resource information 
on programming already in the PBS pipeline; 
suggestions for fundraising, including after-mar- 
ket sales; and assistance as a presenting station, 
whereby they introduce a project to the PBS 
network. 

Even more concretely, participants heard about 
a number of programs that have set precedents for 
how independents can work with the station. For 
example, independent producer Mark Bimbaum 
presented an idea for a documentary on a subur- 
ban secession movement. The idea was accepted, 
and he went on to produce the 30-minute piece, 
which was followed by a live studio discussion 
exploring the issue further. Other independents 
have made use of News Addition as a platform for 
their ideas. They have first created short news 
magazine segments, and later been asked to ex- 
pand them into 30-minute specials. Such cases 
include Clayton Corrie with Black Art: Ancestral 
Legacy. Gay Parrish with Indian Pictographs. 
and Judy Kelly with Prison Art. 

Certain projects have begun to take shape as a 
result of KERA's meetings with independents. 
Suzanne Dooley has gathered a number of ideas 
from different independents for a children's pro- 
gram and packaged them in a proposal for PBS. 
Bart Weiss is working with Bill Young on a 
Showcase of Independents and a special on Stu- 
dent Shorts. 

Beyond the development of specific projects, 
KERA hopes that these meetings will send a 
message to Dallas-area independents — that the 
station is interested in hearing more from them. 
Dallas independents seem to have been reticent 
about sending in videotapes for consideration. 



according to program director Young, who regu- 
larly receives work from around the country but 
gets relatively few tapes from local independents, 
despite their numbers. 

Komatsu observes that there is a lesson here: 
Even if an independent has been turned down by 
a local PBS station, "Persevere. Come back. Things 
change. People change." Komatsu's influence on 
KERA is a good example. In the past few years she 
has moved from being a documentary producer to 
director of TV Programming and, as of Novem- 
ber, to vice president of TV Programming. Thanks 
to her interest in and understanding of indepen- 
dents, KERA is being perceived as a place of 
opportunity for independents. 

Says Komatsu, "We're actually opening two 
doors — one in producing and one in acquisitions." 
Weiss adds, "While there 've been some results 
already, the biggest impact will be long term. We 
gave people the key to get in the door. Now it's up 
to them. And their ideas." 

ANDREA BOARDMAN 

Andrea Boardman is an independent scriptwriter 
in Dallas, working on corporate productions and 
documentaries. 

ITVS TO ISSUE FIRST RFP 

At a meeting in St. Paul on October 21, 1990, the 
board of directors of the Independent Television 
Service (ITVS) approved procedures for the 
organization's first round of funding. Prior to the 
meeting, they announced the appointment of 
Arthur Tsuchiya as policy advisor for the General 
Solicitation funding category. A visiting profes- 
sor of video at Middlebury College in Vermont 
and former arts program analyst and acting direc- 
tor at the New York State Council on the Arts 
Media Program, Tsuchiya is also an independent 
videomaker. ITVS guidelines and application 
forms for General Solicitations, which will entail 
at least $2-million of ITVS' $6-million annual 
production budget, were mailed to independent 
producers in December 1 990. 

Under the General Solicitations category, 
proposals for programs of all genres, styles, for- 
mats, and lengths are being solicited and reviewed 
through an elaborate process of peer review. The 
current plan calls for a division of proposals 
among eight to 10 regional subpanels, which will 
then recommend projects for review by a national 
panel convened in St. Paul, ITVS' headquarters. 
Although the primary determinant for funding 
will be a proposal's overall merit, ITVS has ac- 
knowledged that the ability to package or program 
nonstandard-length works will be a factor in the 
decision. In addition to initiating the funding 
mechanism for its General Solicitation mode. 
ITVS is requesting ideas and suggestions for 
series or program concepts for its Magazine and 
Collaborative categories [see "Field Reports," in 
the July 1990 issue of The Independent]. 

At the same meeting, the ITVS board also 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



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adopted definitions of independent producer and 
independent production as criteria for funding 
eligibility. The document produced by the group 
defines independent production as "a production 
under the artistic, budgetary, and editorial control 
of an independent producer or independent pro- 
duction entity owning the copyright." An eligible 
producer is an "independent producer or indepen- 
dent production entity, [which] means an individ- 
ual producer — or a partnership or organization of 
the individual producer or producers responsible 
for the production — who is not regularly em- 
ployed as a producer by a public or commercial 
broadcast entity or film studio, and especially the 
smaller independent organizations and individu- 
als who, while talented, may not yet have received 
national recognition." The guidelines go on to 
state that "ITVS intends, within the above defini- 
tion, that the service will be open and that present 
or past association with public television stations 
will not automatically exclude a particular pro- 
ducer from participation." 

Although ITVS has been gearing up its grant- 
making process, the new service still does not 
have a contract with Corporation for Public Broad- 
casting. Negotiations between representatives of 
the two entities have been ongoing since the 
incorporation of ITVS in the fall 1989. The differ- 
ences centered on ancillary rights, profit-sharing 
with CPB, CPB's efforts to control the ITVS 
bylaws, and their intention to use a portion of 
ITVS' budget to cover in-house program selec- 
tion and packaging costs. The ITVS board of 
directors has maintained that Congress' directive 
that ITVS be constituted and administered as an 
independent organization requires that they retain 
control over the service's bylaws. The board also 
reaffirmed their understanding that the law re- 
quires ITVS to distribute the full $6-million in 
independent production funds to independent 
producers and that the reasonable expenses of 
program selection and packaging must be paid for 
by CPB — in addition to the designated $6-million 
dollars in production funds — as part of CPB's 
mandate to adequately fund the operating and 
administrative costs of the service. At a negotiat- 
ing meeting held in November, CPB and ITVS 
reached an agreement covering the less conten- 
tious issues on the table, leaving these two to be 
resolved. ITVS intends to seek support from inde- 
pendent producers to prevent CPB from reducing 
the $6-million to cover these operating expenses. 
One of CPB's primary objections to the cur- 
rent ITVS bylaws is the designation of the Na- 
tional Coalition of Independent Public Broadcast- 
ing Producers (NCIPBP) as the representative of 
the independent producers in US. Yet it was 
NCIPBP which initiated and coordinated the 
organized appeal to Congress, which led in turn to 
the establishment of the new independent service. 
They have also acted as a watchdog over the 
ITVS' autonomy from CPB. The ITVS' articles 
of incorporation state that the "association then 
representing the organizations or associations of 
independent producers ... in the United States (the 



representative ' association ' )" has the responsibil- 
ity of nominating directors to the ITVS board. In 
a related agreement, CPB agreed that "at present 
that 'representative association' is the National 
Coalition of Independent Public Broadcasting 
Producers." A NCIPBP nominating committee 
will soon take up the task of nominating two board 
members, replacements for Ed Emshwiller, who 
died last July, and David Davis, who resigned in 
June. 

Last May, at a meeting in Boston, the NCIPBP 
agreed to expand its own board of directors by 
four seats (from 15 to 19) in order to "include 
more multicultural representation and special 
interests, i.e., Native American, gay and lesbian, 
video artists and independent producers." Addi- 
tionally, they decided to hold new elections utiliz- 
ing national nomination and voting procedures. 
This fall, the NCIPBP board was joined by four 
new members: George Burdeau, director of Com- 
munication Arts Department, Institute of Ameri- 
can Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM); Michelle Materre, 
associate director of Women Make Movies (New 
York City); Hye Jung Park, director of Commu- 
nity Affairs, Downtown Community TV Center 
(New York City); and Jose A. Vargas, executive 
director of the Chicago Latino Cinema, which 
coordinates the annual Chicago Latino Film Fes- 
tival. 

SAN FRANCISCO 
COMMISSION: BOON OR 
BUREAUCRACY? 

The Bay Area independent community seems to 
be taking a wait and see attitude towards the newly 
created San Francisco Film and Video Arts 
Commission (SFFVAC). The seven-month-old 
commission is the brainchild of August Coppola, 
dean of the Creative Arts Department at San 
Francisco State University, older brother of Francis 
Ford Coppola, and the commission's president. 
SFFVAC has visionary goals for promoting the 
area as a production center, but virtually no fund- 
ing to implement it. 

Mayor Art Agnos formed the 1 1 -member body 
at Coppola's urging last spring to complement the 
work of the existing Mayor's Film Office, which 
has functioned since 1980 as a city production 
liaison, handling permits, fees, marketing, and the 
like. Although many states have full-fledged film 
commissions, including the Los Angeles-based 
California Film Commission (CFC). a city film 
commission is a rarity. The SFFVAC's mandate 
is ambitious. As Coppola explained to the CFC 
during a hearing in October, the SFFVAC plans to 
raise money to promote independent filmmaking, 
create a supportive atmosphere that would attract 
media business and long-term investment to San 
Francisco, and train young people in film and 
video arts. 

So far, no specific programs have been cre- 
ated. The SFFVAC, which meets monthly, re- 
cently organized working committees to develop 
activities. It now has to figure out how to finance 



them. The commission has a total annual budget 
of $60,000— $10,000 from the city and the rest 
raised from fees. At present, the city money pro- 
vides for the salary of its executive director, Robin 
Eickman, who continues to go about the business 
of negotiating fees and permits as head of the 
Mayor's Film Office. 

With so few dollars committed to the commis- 
sion, Bay Area film and videomakers may be 
reluctant to expend much energy lobbying it. "My 
hunch is, once again, it ' s a real bureaucratic thing," 
says Luz Castillo, executive director of the Latino 
media center Cine Action. Her organization is 
already busy advocating for Latino programming 
and access at the public television station KQED. 
Castillo and other media arts organizations did 
meet informally to articulate independents' con- 
cerns at the request of film/videomaker Debra 
Chasnoff (Choosing Children, Acting Our Age), 
who has the unenviable position as the sole inde- 
pendent representative on the SFFVAC. Chasnoff 
herself remains optimistic about the commission's 
openness to the independent community and would 
like to see formal proposals brought before it. 
"There's absolutely nothing in the way the com- 
mission is set up that precludes independents," 
states Chasnoff. "It's a matter of independents 
figuring out what they want." 

Given their activist history, there ' s no question 
that Bay Area independents will have little trouble 
developing an agenda if the commission had the 
power and financing to implement these ideas. In 
fact, according to the Film Art Foundation 
newsletter Release Print, FAF board president 
Ashley James already addressed SFFVAC at an 
August 6 meeting and recommended specific 
projects, including a state of the art screening 
facility and apprenticeships or internships for 
young artists. However, commercial production 
will probably continue to be the priority for the 
commission — something Release Print editor 
Robert Anbian describes as the major faultline in 
the commission's existence. "The bottom line is 
they wouldn't want to do anything that raises the 
cost of commercial production in San Francisco," 
concludes Anbian. Given these constraints, James ' 
recommendations may be a realistic alternative 
for addressing the needs of independents. Ap- 
prenticeship and internship programs — or, per- 
haps, a discount commercial facility access pro- 
gram like the New York-based Media Alliance 
On-Line service — can achieve a low-cost, sym- 
biotic relationship that benefits both the com- 
mercial and independent communities. 

RT 



WILLIAM T, 
1911-1990 



KIRBY: 



More than anyone else, William T. Kirby champi- 
oned the cause of media arts at the John D. and 
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. As a result, 
the foundation has spent roughly $70-million for 
film, video, public television, and other media 
since 1978. Kirby died, apparently of a heart 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 




William T. Kirby 



Photo: Avis Mandel, courtesy John D. and Catherine T. 
MacArthur Foundation 



attack, while visiting friends in West Bend, Wis- 
consin. He was 79 years old and lived in Chicago. 
Kirby had undergone open-heart surgery last year. 

For more than 25 years, Kirby acted as John 
MacArthur' s personal attorney and general coun- 
sel for the entrepreneur's many enterprises in 
banking and real estate. In 1970 Kirby helped 
MacArthur and his wife set up the John D. and 
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. MacArthur 
named the foundation as the heir to the bulk of his 
fortune and, as Kirby later noted with pride, "When 
he died, he left the money free of strings." Kirby 
played a key role in guiding the foundation through 
troubled times after MacArthur's death in 1978. 
One of the original members of the foundation's 
board of directors, Kirby also served as vice chair 
from 1978 until his death, except for an interven- 
ing appointment as chair from 1988 to May 1990. 

In 1978 Kirby also joined the board of the 
Retirement Research Foundation, which was set 
up in 1950 with funds from John MacArthur. It 
was his idea to initiate the National Media Awards, 
commonly called the Owl Awards, in 1985 to 
encourage film and video works dealing with 
issues of aging through an annual competition. 

The independent spirit appealed to Kirby long 
before he took up the cause of independent media. 
In 1950, he served as the defense attorney for the 
innovative car designer and manufacturer Preston 
Tucker, who was charged with fraud and conspir- 
acy. In an emotional closing argument, Kirby 
helped win Tucker's acquittal. He later served as 
a consultant on Francis Ford Coppola's film 
Tucker: The Man and His Dream. 

While at the MacArthur Foundation, Kirby 
took the lead in positioning media as one of the 
foundation's priorities, alongside such areas as 




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Brady Lewis (12/89) (7% mins.) Jay Rosenblatt (1990) (10 mins.) 
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■ Brain in the Desert ■ All My Relations 

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Ted Lyman (12/88) (22 mins.) Erik Knight (1989) (9V? mins.) 
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■ Walls in the Woods 
-INTERMISSION- Sal Giammona (1989) (8 mins.) 

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health, the environment, world population, edu- 
cation, and peace and international cooperation. 
In an interview a few months before his death in 
October, Kirby explained why the foundation 
made a commitment to independent media: "We 
went to the independent community because they 
speak with the authentic voice of their culture, of 
their time, of their age — and they speak freely 
from the heart and very eloquently. So that's why 
we're there and we're very proud of what they've 
accomplished." 

Between 1986 and 1990, the Mac Arthur Foun- 
dation gave media arts centers alone almost $7.8- 
million, including $2-million in 1990. In addition, 
substantial funds were regularly allocated to a 
variety of public television programs, including 
P.O.V. and Alive from Off Center, to Video Clas- 
sics, a series of public television programs distrib- 
uted to public libraries; and to the Learning 
Channel's showcase series The Independents, 
which the foundation has supported since 1983. 
Individual fdm- and videomakers and scholars 
have benefitted from the foundation's five-year, 
no-strings fellowships. Winners of these "genius 
grants" have included video artist Bill Viola, 
filmmakers John Sayles, Yvonne Rainer, Charles 
Burnett, and Frederick Wiseman, and communi- 
cations professor Michael Schudson. 

At Kirby 's suggestion, the foundation had al- 
ready begun to look for a staff person responsible 
for media at the time of his death. The foundation 
plans to appoint a program officer following an 
internal review of the program, which will be 
completed by March 1991. This review is part of 
a cyclical process through which the foundation 
evaluates all of its funding priorities, according to 
foundation spokesperson Ted Heame. "The out- 
come may be an endorsement or a revision of the 
program's direction," Heame says. 

Kirby took pride in the organization he called 
a "marvelous instrument for the good of society." 
The feeling was apparently mutual. Adele Sim- 
mons, president of the MacArfhur Foundation, 
says, "Along with everyone else at the foundation, 
I take great pride and satisfaction in seeing the 
contribution that independent producers and other 
MacArthur grantees associated with the media 
have made to television. We will always be grate- 
ful for Bill Kirby 's genius in seeing this potential. 
It is an extraordinary achievement but perfectly 
typical of him that in the last decade of his life he 
became so expert in this field." 

JOYCE BOLINGER 

Joyce Bolinger is director of development at 
Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and 
former director of the Center for New Television. 

SEQUELS 

Legislation reauthorizing the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts for three years was finally 
passed in late October ["Punitive Damages: 
Congress Threatens Cuts in NEA Funding," Oc- 



1 2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



tober 1 989]. The bill eliminates the language Sen. 
Jesse Helms introduced into 1989 legislation 
prohibiting funds from going to "obscene or inde- 
cent art" and leaves the determination of the 
"obscenity" of a work of art to the courts, rather 
than the NEA. If convicted and after all appeals 
are exhausted, a grantee will be debarred from 
receiving further NEA funds until the grant is 
repaid. In a compromise gesture toward conserva- 
tive opponents of the agency, the bill states that 
the NEA must take "into consideration general 
standards of decency and respect for the diverse 
beliefs and values of the American public" when 
awarding grants — a vaguely worded requirement 
that may be challenged on constitutional grounds. 
The bill also gives more funds to the states — 
shifting the present 80:20 federal to state ratio to 
65:35 by FY1993 — and includes procedural 
changes that weaken the authority of the peer 
panels and boost that of the chairman and the 
National Council of the Arts. 

Shortly after the reauthorization bill was passed, 
the NEA quietly removed the controversial non- 
obscenity pledge that had been included in the 
contracts sent to grant recipients this past year. At 
least 1 6 artists and institutions had refused to sign, 
forfeiting $318,000 in NEA funding. 

It is widely expected that conservatives will not 
give up the fight but launch another attack on the 
NEA's annual appropriations bill. Similar as- 
saults may occur on a state level, with state legis- 



lators trying to introduce the Helms language. In 
addition, President Bush will be appointing 13 
new people to fill expired terms on the National 
Council, and fundamentalists have already been 
lobbying Bush to name more "Christians." 



Years after PBS refused to air the anti-nuclear 
expose Dark Circle, by Chris Beaver and Judy 
Irving, they had a change of heart. In 1986, they 
dismissed the film because of its "credibility prob- 
lem," "incompleteness and prejudicial treatment 
of material... questionable use of statistics," and 
"simplistic and irresponsible" discussion of is- 
sues ["Dark Cycle: Film Dropped in PBS Balanc- 
ing Act," August September 1986]. Not so coin- 
cidentally, many of the nuclear weapons manu- 
facturers prominently featured in the film were 
also underwriters of PBS programs. Turner Broad- 
casting wound up giving Dark Circle its national 
broadcast premiere. This was followed last Au- 
gust by an appearance on the PBS series P.O.V. 
Thanks to the latter, Dark Circle became PBS' 
single nominee and winner in the category of 
Outstanding News and Documentary Individual 
Achievement at the prestigious Emmy Awards. 
Filmmaker Irving found the award — as well as 
PBS' about-face — to be "very satisfying." 



The Senate confirmed the appointment of Sharon 



Rockefeller to the board of directors of the Cor- 
poration for Public Broadcasting. This will be 
Rockefeller's third term on the board, which she 
chaired from 1981 to 1984. CPB board member 
Marshall Turner, a San Francisco venture capital- 
ist, will succeed Ken Towery as chair, with Daniel 
Brenner reelected vice chair. 



The John D. and Catherine T. Mac Arthur Founda- 
tion has appointed Victor Rabinowitch to fill the 
newly established office of vice president for 
programs. Previously named as the foundation's 
new president is Adele Simmons. After seven 
years as director of exhibitions at the Southwest 
Alternate Media Project, Marion Luntz has 
moved on to become film program director at the 
Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. The American 
Film and Video Association's executive director, 
Ron Maclntyre, announced his resignation. He 
is now director of the Suburban Audio Visual 
Service in Chicago. AFVA's new director of 
information is James Casey Ashe. The Independ- 
ent Feature Project is conducting a search for a 
new executive director to succeed Karen Arikian. 
Newly appointed to the position of head of the 
Canada Council's Media Arts Section is Susan 
Ditta, previously a film and video curator at the 
National Gallery, of Canada. 



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THE INDEPENDENT 13 



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The Direct 




fhiitli^* Q£tt"tH/"a A 



|L IMPACT 
nnouncements 



BILL HORRIGAN 



The transformation of television as an American 
social and cultural institution by the gradual 
triumph of cable and satellite over the last decade 
continues to alter the forms of what we see, in 
ways that still aren't clear. Abetted by the remote- 
control device, viewers gallop through dozens of 
images in as many seconds, waiting for one to 
command attention. And as any TV viewer can 
attest, one thing begins to look like another — it's 
a question, almost, of masquerade. This is most 
pointedly the case with respect to that register in 
which television' s "minor forms" flourish — com- 
mercials, music videos, public service announce- 
ments. For better or worse, by accident or design, 




they're increasingly competing on common for- 
mal grounds. 

The 14 public service announcements (two 
cycles of seven each) going under the name Direct 
Effect represent a novel intervention in this re- 
gard. Direct Effect is a project of Direct Impact, 
which itself is a project of the C-Hundred Film 
Corp., a small production and distribution opera- 
tion based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and oper- 
ated by filmmaker Jim McKay and R.E.M. musi- 
cian Michael Stipe. C-Hundred is in the business 
of making music videos and has a small catalogue 
of home videocassettes they distribute (Jem 
Cohen's Just Hold Still, McKay's own Light- 
hearted Nation, and a forthcoming collection of 
James Herbert's films titled Figures). Income 
derived from C-Hundred's activities is then driven 
into Direct Impact, the operation ' s nonprofit wing, 
which exists to produce and promote the public 
service announcements going by the name Direct 
Effect. 

Although hardly uniform, the Direct Effect 
PSAs are an attempt to make very short films that 
are stylistically adventurous, under extremely lim- 
ited circumstances, while retaining the advocacy 
value of the form. In addition, as McKay explains 
it, there's a strong commitment to expanding the 
range of permissible issues one might expect a 
PSA to address. For example, in the first cycle 
(February 1990), director Tom Gilroy's Love 
Knows No Color simply features shots of an 
interracial couple and a child, followed by the 
written punch line. Also in the first cycle, Jem 
Cohen's What Does "Away" Mean? quietly asks 
the Viewer to wonder where garbage actually 
goes. Other spots in the first cycle include one on 
the abortion rights debate by Sassy magazine 
editor Jane Pratt, one on chemical farming by 
Stipe, and one on world peace by rap artist KRS- 
One and Susan Robeson. The second cycle, 



James Herbert's oblique safer sex admonition 
Be Caring, Be Careful is one of 14 public 
service announcements going under the name 
Direct Effect. 

Courtesy C-Hundred 

Jane Pratf s PSA about sexual harassment 
features verite footage of the leers, cat-calls, 
and come-ons that follow one woman as she 
moves through her day in New York City. 

Courtesy C-Hundred 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



completed in September 1 990, features a compa- 
rable mix of approved and oblique topics, the 
most striking one being another by Pratt, an ex- 
tremely effective verite illustration of sexual har- 
assment on the streets of New York. 

Each made for under $2,000, the spots are 
deliberately arty in their feel; they're slow, con- 
templative rather than emphatic, and you don't 
always know what it is you're watching until the 
final image or text throws it into relief. That 
ambiguity is heightened by the fact that the only 
organizational affiliation given is the neutral- 
sounding Direct Effect, as opposed to a more 
pointed anchor such as Greenpeace. In the second 
cycle spots, Direct Effect'sphonenumberis listed. 
If callers respond to a specific PSA, Direct Impact 
sends them more detailed information on the issue 
it addresses. 

The spots have been seen on a hit-or-miss basis 
on MTV, VH- 1 , CNN, and other national venues, 
but McKay says their biggest success thus far has 
come about by mailing copies of the cassettes to 
150 locally-originated music video programs 
across the country (aided in this effort by Warner 
Brothers, which is R.E.M.'s record label). As he 
says, "We want to get the word out, and anyone 
who calls me up and can prove that they have a 
show, I'll send them a three-quarter-inch cas- 
sette." 

Despite the usual amount of chronic uncer- 
tainty where funding is concerned, Direct Impact 
is currently preparing the third cycle of seven 
spots, scheduled for completion in the beginning 
of 1991 . Among the offbeat issues to be addressed 
this time around are male circumcision and white 
collar crime. 

In the meantime, Direct Impact is presently 
looking for new producers for spots for the fourth 
cycle. Once a spot is commissioned, the producer 
is given $2,000 to cover production costs; if it 
comes in under $2,000, the difference is returned 
to Direct Impact, and if it goes over, the producer 
makes up the difference. Direct Impact handles 
duplicating, publicizing, and distributing the tapes. 

According to McKay, interested producers 
should contact Direct Impact with a short treat- 
ment (about two paragraphs) or a storyboard, and 
this then may be followed up with a request for a 
sample reel. Most of the spots thus far have been 
30 seconds (which comes out to 21 seconds after 
the opening and closing logo), though some have 
been 60 (which means 51). McKay says, "Any- 
one, anywhere, can send in an idea — there's going 
to be a certain number of them that hit the nail on 
the head. If it's been covered in the mainstream 
media, we want to cover it differently, but other- 
wise we're looking for topics that have not been 
recognized at all and in those cases they might be 
handled in a very traditional way, if need be." 

Direct Impact can be contacted at: C-Hundred 
Film Corp., Box 506, Lancaster, PA 17603; (717) 
399-9288. 

Bill Horrigan is film/video curator at the Wexner 
Center for the Visual Arts in Columbus, Ohio. 




Big 

/Wuddy 
Film 
Festival 



CALL FOR ENTRIES 

13TH ANNUAL BIG MUDDY 
FILM FESTIVAL 



Entry deadline: 

1 February, 1991 
Limited to 16mm 
and 3/4" video 



FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: 
BIG MUDDY FILM FESTIVAL 

c/o DEPT. OF CINEMA & PHOTOGRAPHY 

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY 

CARBONDALE, IL 62901 

(618)453-1475 




Scriptware 



...the freedom to create. 



©1990 Cinovation, Inc. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



<n 



A Beginner's Guide tj 



Ident Feature Market 



AMY BEER 



As you open the large glass doors of the Angelika 
Film Center, take a deep breath and prepare to 
dive into a pool of hopeful filmmakers, harried 
volunteers, and skittish buyers. Welcome to the 
twelfth Annual Independent Feature Film Mar- 
ket. You paid your entry fee for your feature 
documentary film last June and received notice in 
mid-August that it was accepted. Now, at the 
brink of the event itself, the adrenaline is flow- 
ing.... 

The IFFM is organized once a year in New York 
City by the Independent Feature Project. Founded 
in 1979, IFP is a nonprofit membership organi- 
zation that acts as a support structure for inde- 



Lyays and nights of dashing after buyers 
and ducking into screenings. Have you told 
just about everyone at the market about 
your film? By now, you can describe your 
labor of love in seven words or less. 



pendent producers by offering a variety of pro- 
grams and services that focus on production, 
finance, distribution, and marketing of feature 
films. The market — one of their main vehicles — 
provides an opportunity for filmmakers to present 
their work to an audience of festival program- 
mers, distributors, and domestic and foreign 
buyers. In order to participate in the market, 
independent producers are required to fill out an 
entry form, submit the work for screening by the 
market committee, and pay a fee of $400 for 
features or $325 for shorts or works-in-progress. 
Out of a field of 275 films submitted this year, 
the IFFM screened 213: 84 documentaries and 
fiction features, 67 works-in-progress, and 62 
shorts and videotapes. The market also had for 
the first time a script directory, which entailed a 
$250 entry fee and included all 103 scripts 
submitted. The vast majority of work came from 
the United States and Canada but also included 
the talent of filmmakers from all over the world. 
The participants in the market ranged from sea- 
soned professionals to novices. 

Your mission — you've already accepted it — is to 
promote that sweat of your brow, that labor of 

16 THE INDEPENDENT 



your love, that tender bundle of joy — your film. 
It's your first film in the market. 

It's the first day of the market. After abrief stop 
at the registration desk, you dash off with piles of 
papers in your hands to have your picture taken, 
snap and a snip, your smiling face slides through 
the mini-lamination machine and, poof, you have 
it. Your tag, that blue clip of plastic that admits 
you to parties and screenings. That blue piece of 
plastic that labels you an artist and here to do busi- 
ness. 

Over a two-week period in early October the 
films were shown in Angelika's six theaters all 
day long. This gave filmmakers and buyers an 
opportunity to mingle before and after screen- 
ings, making and maintaining valuable profes- 
sional contacts. In addition to being a forum for 
buying and selling films, the market served as a 
conference on independent filmmaking, with the 
range of programs including personal consulta- 
tions with experts in the fields of law, insurance, 
film boards, festivals, and distribution. There 
were also seminars, breakfast symposia, and 
luncheons covering such issues as writing, for- 
eign markets, First Amendment rights, censor- 
ship, technology, and producing. Speakers in- 
cluded writer/director John Sayles; writer/direc- 
tor Pedro Almodovar; William Gunlar, a lawyer 
from Miramax, known for defending First Amend- 
ment rights; and producer Richard Quay. A 
small staff from IFP and Angelika ran the market 
with the help of a large, diverse group of volun- 
teers, numbering more than 1 50 this year. 

AIJ around you people zip by, blue tags (film- 
maker or script), orange tags (volunteer), purple 
tags (market pass), and, finally, the glorious green 
tags. Green. Money. Buyer. Your target. But how 
to reach them? Surrounded, pursued by flocks of 
anxious filmmakers and others, they slip in and 
out of the crowd. As luck would have it, one stops 
by you long enough to say hello to some other 
familiar face. You seize the moment. ... 

"Excuse me, are you looking for documenta- 
ries?" you blurt out. 

"No," they grimace and walk away. 

Oops, too direct. Time to rethink your strategy. 
Time to move slowly. As the market wears on, 
you practice the approach. Calm lines. . .cool lines. 

"Enjoying the market?" Most people are easy 
to approach. 

Over 250 companies represented by more than 

400 individuals attended the market this year 

looking for films. They included major studios, 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE 
HOUSTON 
INTERNATIONAL 
FILM FESTIVAL 



THE 24TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF THE AMERICAS 

WORLDFEST 91! AMERICA'S MOST IMPORTANT FESTIVAL! 

APRIL 19-28, 1991 



Houston Worldfest 91 offers you the 
largest film and video competition in 
the world in terms of entries. We 
present a complete film market with 
program book, plus competition and 



awards in six major categories: features, 
shorts, documentary, TV commercials, 
experimental/independent and TV 
production. No other festival or 
film market provides you so much! 



FOR THE COMPLETE ENTRY & INFORMATION KIT, PLUS POSTER, CONTACT: 

J. HUNTER TODD. CHAIRMAN & FOUNDER-THE HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, P.O. BOX 56566 
HOUSTON. TEXAS 77256 USA TELEPHONE(713) 965-9955 FAX: (71 3) 965-9960 TELEX: 317-876 (WORLDFEST-HOU) 



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With a cappuccino bar on one side and a 

view of Soho on the other, filmmakers 

hustle their work in the lobby of the 

Angelika Film Center, the hub of activity 

at the Independent Feature Film Market. 

Photo: Gary Pollard 



independent distributors, international festivals 
and markets, nonprofit organizations, agents, 
foreign, cable and public television buyers. A 
comprehensive list of their contact names, num- 
bers, descriptions, and current markets are 
published in the market's Buyers Directory, IFFM's 
Who's Who available to film/videomakers at 
the beginning of the market. The first directory 
included names of buyers who preregistered 
and was updated every other day with informa- 
tion on buyers who registered as the event 
continued. 

As the market wears on you refocus your objec- 
tive. It's simple, get buyers to see your film. You 
head towards the mailboxes. IFFM provides rows 
and rows of numbered little boxes. By the end of 
the first week, some of the buyer's boxes are so 
packed with flyers and other paraphernalia that 
the small but official looking invitation to your 
film will hardly fit. Some people move swiftly 
from box to box, stuffing each one. But you have 
a plan. After careful study of the Buyers Direc- 
tory, you narrow down a list, a hit list of buyers 
who bought films like yours during the last year. 
You question other filmmakers and market par- 
ticipants. What have they heard? Is it true the Ger- 
mans have all come with blank checks? 

Your hands now emptied of invitations, you 
head back into the crowd. The days wear on, you 
keep moving from tag to tag, absorbing informa- 
tion. The buyer from Sweden says he isn't here to 
look at documentaries, but he gives you a name 
and address of someone at his company who is. 
Eureka. 

"Can I use your name, when I call?" 
"Yes, but don't call. Send him a screening copy 
first," he replies, dashing away, soon to be swal- 
lowed up by a sea of colored tags. 

Foreign buyers continue to increase in atten- 
dance with each annual market. Foreign televi- 
sion seems to have an expanding need for 
innovative and independent films. Buyers come 
from Germany, Sweden, Japan, Italy, Australia, 
and all over the globe. 

Every day ends with a review of contacts and 
cards. You write cryptic notes on the back of each 
card: "We met Oct. 10th at the market." "She had 
red hair." "He's looking for comedies." "They 
only take submissions through agents." Each one 
finds a new place in the list of priorities for follow- 
up. With each nightfall the parties are on. They 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 




have a different atmosphere . Nobody has a screen- 
ing to rush to — acaptive audience. Your objective 
becomes geographic. If you stand still, after a 
while the movement of the room may bring people 
past you. Idle conversation is easier. 

Parties are sponsored by film organizations, 
institutes, and commissions. Sponsor organiza- 
tions also included guarantors, law offices, film 
boards, and many others. They are held in 
downtown Manhattan restaurants and clubs and 
can be as formal as a champagne reception at 
the Puck Building or as casual as a beer bash at 
the Knitting Factory. The parties are well at- 
tended by everyone at the market and provide a 
festive environment for networking. 

"Oh yes, it's too hot for champagne," you agree 
with the tall gentleman with a British accent. "Are 
you here with a film?" 

He's here with a script. It seems cold, but you 
move on, you're looking for buyers. You're be- 
coming comfortable with three-minute conversa- 
tions. Back to geography, you head across the 
room. It becomes easier to think of covering floor 
space than dashing through people. Maybe this 
networking thing isn't so bad after all. You pick 
up conversation and information as you go, and 
your confidence actually builds. 

Surprise! You've landed next to a green tag. A 
quick glance — they're from the top of your "hit" 
list of buyers interested in your kind of film. Stand 
by, stay calm, and listen. Eventually you become 
part of the conversation. 

"Oh yes, I read about your film, when is it 
screening?" You find out she's leaving early, you 
set up a special screening time and head back into 
the room. The cycle keeps repeating itself. Days 
and nights of dashing after buyers and ducking 
into screenings. Have you told just about every- 
one at the market about your film? By now, you 



can describe your labor of love in seven words or 
less. Finally, it arrives: Judgement Day. Your 
screening. Outside the screening room you drop a 
pile of press kits. They're filled with photos, 
articles, and letters of interest... the bait. 

Ten minutes, 20 minutes, you can't sit still. 
You decide to wait outside. It's over, the lights go 
up, and the door swings open. People rush by. 
"Interesting." "I've got to get to another screen- 
ing." "Call me." 

Others stand and talk with you. "What rights 
are available?" they ask. You answer as many 
questions as you can and hand out more press kits. 
By tomorrow the IFFM office will have a list 
ready of all the buyers at the screening. With only 
a few days left, you start to relax. More cards, 
more contact, more parties. The market is almost 
over. You start exchanging war stories with other 
filmmakers. 

Already planning your priorities for follow-up, 
the glass doors shut behind you. Time to shake off 
the day and head home. 

Amy Beer is a sales and marketing specialist with 
Allied Film and Video, a film lab and duplication 
facility. She has attended the last three IFFMs as 
a volunteer, buyer liaison, andfilm'rep. 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



1990 




stival 



CHRISTOPHER HOOVER 



Speaking for Oneself... 

Speaking for Others, by 

Joyce Salloum and Elia 

Suliman, critiques media 

representations of 

Palestinians' history and 

current struggles. 

Courtesy videomakers 



A name like World Wide Video Festival promises 
a lot. So much that one might be skeptical about 
this and other large scale events that flatten the 
globe into a uniform surface. A presumption of 
universal understanding without a more complex 
analysis of context and cultural identity is as 
misguided as it is romantic. This year's WWVF 
acknowledged national specificity in its section of 
12 tapes from Brazil. But even this gesture was 
lost on the audience, since there was no contextu- 
alizing essay in the festival catalogue, no organ- 
ized discussion, or any other effort to draw atten- 
tion to this work. 




The ninth version of the WWVF took place in 
The Hague from September 27 to October 3 and 
delivered 93 titles from West and East Europe, 
North and South America, Africa, and Asia. Special 
events included a video/dance installation by Tanja 
den Breeders, postscreening interviews with many 
of the videomakers, a talk on trends in video art by 
Expanded Cinema author Gene Youngblood, and 
a market with video distribution companies from 
a dozen countries. 

Organized by Tom Van Vliet and Albert 
Wulfflers and held at the Kijkhuis, a spacious 
facility dedicated to video exhibition and distribu- 
tion, the festival has a reputation for covering a 
range of styles within a fairly narrow conceptual 
organizing principle. Van Vliet and Wulfflers 
explained that they used personal taste as the basis 
for inclusion in the WWVF. Van Vliet added that 
what he looks for in work for the festival is "strong 
personal vision" as well as "quality, originality, 
and willfulness." 

Due to this emphasis on personal expression. 



collectively made work and productions that 
challenge notions of creativity and individual 
subjectivity were for the most part not to be found. 
So what did Van Vliet and Wulffler's taste offer? 

Formalist experimentation and computer tricks 
were well represented, as were vignettes of per- 
sonal angst and charming narratives. A certain 
line of investigation, however, could be deline- 
ated in a series of provocative tapes. Friederike 
Anders ' Die Patriarchin, a compelling 90-minute 
interview with four generations of German women, 
poses a version of history which is intimate but not 
merely anecdotal. The stories told in Anders' tape 
echo with the tragedy, pain, and hope of lives 
constantly manipulated by national and interna- 
tional politics. History is presented as the experi- 
ence of individuals lived within limits imposed by 
the exercise of State power. 

Belladonna, an unusual collaboration by Beth 
B and her mother, painter Ida Applebroog, simi- 
larly provides a complex version of history. Using 
texts from famous and infamous authors Sigmund 
Freud, Josef Mengele, and Joel Steinberg, Bella- 
donna evokes an emotional memory/history of 
love, cruelty, and resentment. The tape's narra- 
tion is provided by three fathers: the father of 
psychoanalysis, the symbolic father of Nazi death 
camps, and an adopted father of a murdered child. 
The composite testimony of this trio reveals the 
violence of patriarchal social order. Here, history 
is presented in a collage of case histories exposing 
the perversions of paternal power. 

Steve Fagin's The Machine That Killed Bad 
People poses yet another model of history — his- 
tory as spectacle. In a two-hour tableau based on 
the media image of Ferdinand and Imelda Mar- 
cos, Fagin questions the codes of realism and 
suggests that the story of the Marcos family and 
the Philippines is simultaneously constructed and 
obscured by media distortion. Part CNN-style 
documentary, part mini-series, and part perform- 
ance art, The Machine That Killed Bad People 
embraces spectacle as the process by which we in 
the West identify and understand other cultures, 
events of history, even ourselves. 

Yet another video with a historical bent was 
Hungarian videomaker Peter Forgacs ' The Father 
and His Three Sons: The Bartos Family, which 
won the festival's competition. This 60-minute 
work is the product of Forgacs" editing of five 
hours of home movies of an upper-class Hungar- 
ian family, material spanning the 1930s to the 
fifties. According to the festival catalogue, Forgacs 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



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made "no attempt to achieve a 'style,' only to 
record everyday life." The results are a nostalgic 
depiction that ignores so many of the circum- 
stances during a tumultuous period. At a time 
when European history is undergoing rigorous 
evaluation, this tape was a curious choice for the 
festival's sole cash prize. 

Conversely, Elia Suleiman and Jayce Salloum ' s 
(Introduction to the end of an argument) Speaking 
for oneself... Speaking for others... offers a cri- 
tique of how moving images produced by the 
mass media and individual artist-producers con- 
struct biased representations of a national group — 
Palestinians — that serves the interests of more 
powerful groups. In this case, history is not ren- 
dered nostalgic. Rather, official history reveals 
itself as an order fabricated to serve the ambitions 
and religious interests of the wealthy and power- 
ful. 

Sexuality took familiar forms in the festival. 
Only Julie Zando and Jo Anstey's The Bus Stops 
Here: 3 Case Histories, Abigail Child's Swamp, 
and Josef Robakowski's Ejfleurements treated 
sex as anything other than heterosexual and male- 
centered. All the recent work done around gay and 
lesbian identity and the challenging activist stud- 
ies of the AIDS crisis were absent from the festi- 
val. In this regard, Van Vliet and Wulfflers' crite- 
ria of individual expression and quality led them 
to omit what, in the United States at least, figures 
as one of the most significant developments in 
independent video. 

On the other hand, uncritical representations of 
naked female bodies abounded in the festival 
selections. In an interview following the screen- 
ing of her tape We, Shelly Silver observed that her 
work was the festival's only explicit sexual depic- 
tion of the male body. Her comment was casually 
dismissed by Jan Middendorp, the festival's offi- 
cial interviewer, who countered that the female 
body has long been the subject of scrutiny for the 
European avant garde. Because Silver's tape 
imaged a sexual male body, it shocked Midden- 
dorp and led him to accuse her of lurid intent while 
defending female nudity in other tapes as exer- 
cises in artistic inquiry. 

The festival jury — curatorChris Dercon, video- 
makers Marcello Dantas and Maria Vedder — 
awarded 5,000 Guilders (around $3,000) to 
Forgacs' The Father and His Three Sons but 
didn't survive its own deliberations. Vedder was 
unable to support Forgacs' tape and resigned, 
announcing she would have preferred Ken 
Kobland's Foto-Roman, a poetic treatment of 
travel and waiting, with a voiceover by Vito 
Acconci. 

Their dissent was amplified by dismay ex- 
pressed by many of the videomakers in attendance 
when they were informed that Van Vliet and 
Wulfflers had preselected 25 of the 93 festival 
tapes for the competition. Their catalogue intro- 
duction explained that their process was "arbi- 
trary," but they failed to inform videomakers of 
the method or the resulting short list. Although the 



WWVF may be forgiven for seeking a practical 
solution to the problem of having a jury review 
dozens of hours of work thoroughly and fairly , the 
preselection process was not exactly arbitrary and 
amounted to a hierarchy of value. In conversation 
Van Vliet told me that the tapes selected for the 
competition were, in his words, "the strongest" 
(works awarded prizes at other festivals were 
automatically excluded). Given this criteria, why, 
then, did only one tape from Japan and one from 
Brazil — out of 14 tapes from Asia, Africa, and 
Latin America — end up in the competition? Al- 
though the festival demonstrated its commitment 
to work by groups and individuals who work 
outside the established European and North 
American avant garde, highlighting work from 
Brazil and promising that next year's festival will 
survey work from Asia, more than worthy inten- 
tions are required to merit the title World Wide. 

Despite these rather substantial concerns, the 
administration and execution of the 1 990 WWVF 
was successful. The screening facility and well 
organized schedule permitted both the chance to 
question videomakers at formal screenings as 
well as the option to watch tapes on private 
monitors. Additionally, the festival was attended 
by many producers, curators, distributors, and 
festival organizers from North America and Eu- 
rope. The festival administrators offered gener- 
ous financial assistance to the videomakers for 
transportation and hotel accommodations, mak- 
ing the WWVF quite accessible to these artists. 
However, little effort seemed to be expended to 
attract people from the local community; conse- 
quently very few natives of The Hague attended. 

The ninth World Wide Video Festival was a 
mixed bag of misdirected gestures of inclusive- 
ness and accidental moments of insight. Personal 
taste guiding an international survey of video 
proved to be an insufficient criterion to provide an 
accurate index of significant independent produc- 
tion from communities other than those populated 
by established video artists. Deeper concentration 
on how video is developing in all sorts of commu- 
nities is needed to make this a truly world wide 
festival. 

Chris Hoover is freelance writer, videomaker, 
and curator currently working with Paper Tiger 
Television and the Video Data Bank. 



MOVING ? 

LET US KNOW. 

IT TAKES FOUR TO SIX WEEKS 

TO PROCESS A CHANGE OF 

ADDRESS, SO PLEASE NOTIFY 

AIVF IN ADVANCE. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 




AN EPIC OF AN EPOCH 

Ken Burns Discusses rhe Civil War 



ROB EDEIAAAN 



What I do is I tell 
history, but as a 
story," says Burns. 
1 don't want to tell 
it didactically or 
analytically, or just 
politically. I clearly 
have political 
sympathies and 
ideas and points of 
view, but I don't 
wish the engines of 
my films to be 
driven by them." 



With his 1 1 -hour documentary history, The Civil 
War, Ken Burns has achieved every independent 
filmmaker's dream. The series, budgeted at $3.2- 
million, received major underwriting and promo- 
tion support from General Motors. Burns had total 
control over the content of the historical series, 
which premiered this past September in primetime 
over five consecutive evenings on PBS stations 
nationwide. 

The Civil War received reams of advance 
publicity and laudatory reviews. Walter Goodman 
in the New York Times wrote that "[Burns] takes 
his place as the most accomplished documentary 
maker of his generation." Variety called The Civil 
War "a masterful, compelling achievement. "Harry 
F. Waters declared in Newsweek that the series 
"qualifies as a kind of video miracle. . .it takes the 
nation's most cataclysmic act of self-definition 
and brings it hauntingly and wondrously alive." 
Syndicated columnist David Broder noted, 
"Beyond the artistic merit... [the] epic brought a 
message about the cost of war that could not be 
more timely, as the United States approaches a 
moment of decision in the Persian Gulf." Finally, 
on the Tuesday after the airing, the New York 
Times headlined, "Civil War Sets an Audience 
Record for PBS." The series averaged a nine 
Nielsen rating and 13 share in America's 24 
largest television markets. This, according to the 
Times, was a 345 percent increase over the previ- 
ous week's PBS programming. 

It took Burns five years to complete the se- 
ries — one year longer than it took to fight the Civil 
War. In an early October telephone interview 
from his home in Walpole, New Hampshire, the 
36-year-old filmmaker described his success at 
bringing the series to fruition in a word — perse- 
verance. "I made my case well," he said, "and did 
it consistently and persistently. 

"The series was showcased as it was," contin- 
ued Burns, whose other documentaries include 
Brooklyn Bridge, Huey Long, and The Statue of 
Liberty, "because I worked very hard to insure 
that it happened. There were several columns 
written saying what a big mistake this [series] 
would be for PBS. They 're now eating their words." 
Indeed, TV Guide reported, "When PBS announced 
it would kick off its fall season with a 
documentary... we were frankly skeptical. How 
many viewers would choose to immerse them- 
selves in American history rather than sample 
highly touted network newcomers like NBC's 
Fresh Prince of Bel Air, CBS's Uncle Buck, and 



ABC's Cop Rock? The risk was rewarded, how- 
ever, with a record-breaking audience... which 
just goes to prove that sometimes it pays to be 
revolutionary." 

Added Bums, "The General Motors support 
was instrumental in raising the awareness across 
the country of the series' existence. But I think 
what's really clear is that not only [General Mo- 
tors] delivered [the audience], but the program 
kept them there. They stayed with it; they aban- 
doned plans they'd had for the week, literally. 
People were moved, because of the quality of the 
program." 

Other filmmakers may have high quality docu- 
mentaries, but they're not going to end up with the 
media exposure enjoyed by The Civil War. Why 
Ken Burns' film, and not someone else's? "I think 
that, in the case of documentaries, there are fla- 
vors of the year. The media seems to [embrace] 
one documentary a year for popular consumption. 
We've seen in the past The Thin Blue Line or 
Roger and Me. I think that in the case of The Civil 
War [there is] a bit of that flavor, but I think the 
critics were from the very beginning blown away 
by it. And the public had the same response," 
explained Bums. 

The Civil War, as Burns' other works, is as 
enjoyable aesthetically as it is informational. "What 
I do is I tell history, but as a story," he continued. 
"I don't want to tell it didactically or analytically, 
or just politically. I clearly have political sympa- 
thies and ideas and points of view, but I don't wish 
the engines of my films to be driven by them." He 
added, "Michael Moore's film is funny, and, as 
good as it is, it essentially is one-note. I wish [my 
films] to have chords and resonances." 

Bums is emphatic in his assertion that General 
Motors' participation in The Civil War was not an 
attempt to counteract the bad publicity it received 
from Roger and Me. "Their commitment in every 
aspect of this film was years before Roger and Me 
came out," he said. "In fact, if there's a flaw to 
Roger and Me, it's how narrow-minded it is. It just 
sees GM as monolithic, period. I mean. [GM has] 
given away millions of dollars in support of 
something in which they asked for absolutely no 
control. Never once did the subject of [Roger and 
Me] come up. They're interested, sincerely, in 
good history. They're now supporting my history 
of baseball. And I'm honored to have their sup- 
port." 

Bums also managed to secure a meaty book 
deal. The 425-page Civil War: An Illustrated 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



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History, by Geoffrey C. Ward, with Ken Burns 
and Ric Burns (Ken's brother), was published by 
Alfred A. Knopf as his series premiered. "I had 
wanted to do a companion book that wasn't just a 
pale version of the film," Burns observed. "I 
wanted to do something which in this case would 
replace what had been the single-volume bible of 
•the Civil War, a book written by Bruce Caton 
called The Pictorial History of the Civil War. This 
was revolutionary in its time, but I wanted to 
replace it. It had become old and dated, because 
for one thing it does not reflect new scholarship 
about the incredibly heroic role of blacks through- 
out the war. I wanted the book to contain that, but 
I also wanted it to be visually stunning." 

Burns is highly critical of the approach that 
many documentary filmmakers bring to their work. 
And he has much to say on the subject. "Docu- 



mentaries, it seems to me, mostly run at a terrible 
deficit because they attempt to run on only one 
cylinder, to be an expression of already-arrived-at 
ends. Or [they attempt] to hoe a narrow political 
furrow, however honorable or correct — and please 
put the word correct in quotes. [I] believe that the 
documentary is an art form, not merely a form of 
journalistic expression. We don't ask too much of 
ourselves in documentary films. And I think we 
need to ask more, to use more of the brain, you 
know, than what we normally use. We need to 
demand of it that it be a work of art. . . . When you 
do that, people respond." 

Just because it's a documentary, Burns be- 
lieves that a film should not be excused from what 
he calls "the rigorous application of the art of 
film." He added, "If you hold yourself account- 
able to [this art], if the process of making a film is 




24 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



Above: Members of the 107th Colored 
Infantry line up at Fort Corcoran in 
Washington D.C. By the end of the Civil 
War, 185,000 black men had enlisted in the 
Union army, a stunning 85 percent of those 
eligible to fight. Ken Burns' The Civil War 
reflects the new scholarship that addresses 
the role of blacks in the war. 

Courtesy Owen Comoro Associates 

Below: General Motors footed a good part 
of the bill for The Civil War, including the 
cost of publicity. This and PBS's new interest 
in promoting its fall line-up helped attract a 
record-breaking audience. 

Courtesy Owen Comoro Associates 



a process of discovery, if it seems more than its 
own biases, then you will have taken a step to- 
wards making a good film." 

Additionally, Burns believes that documentary 
filmmakers are too often overly eager to take on 
unnecessary battles to get their films made and 
seen. "I find in the documentary community an 
almost knee-jerk desire to sort of create barriers 
and divisions, to assume that there are enemies out 
there," he noted. "There are enemies out there, 
but they're not as [pervasive] as we tend to think. 
I found that, by pursuing as quietly as possible my 
own work, I accomplish a lot more — and I don't 
need to create the political divisions against CPB, 
against PBS, against corporations." 

"I am not naive," he stressed, "and I am not 
unaware of the dangers [of making documenta- 
ries]. And I don't take any shit. I don't allow 
anyone to influence my content. But at the same 
time I'm not paranoid about it. And I think there's 
a sort of defensive reaction, in which that paranoia 
replaces the artistic, scholarly, and really just 
human responsibilities that we have to our sub- 
jects. 

"And sometimes we trade what is very diffi- 
cult, hard work for ourselves for that kind of knee- 
jerk, 'Oh, well, I didn't get funded because they 're 
out to get me,' or, 'They don't like independents,' 
or, 'They're against minorities,' or whatever. I've 
found that usually when I don't get funded it's 
because I didn't do a good job in making the case 
for my subject. And I redouble my efforts to do 
better." 

Burns is quick to follow all this by saying that 
he is "sorry to sound so conservative. I'm not. I'm 
politically very, very left-wing. But I'm artisti- 
cally trying to be honest. That's my goal. I don't 
always succeed, but I'm always trying." 

Rob Edelman is contributing editor of Leonard 
Maltin's TV Movies and Video Guide. 



CALL FOR ENTRIES 

USA FILM FESTIVAL/DALLAS 

April 18-24, 1991 




The 21 st annual USA Film Festival seeks 
innovative American short films for the 
13th Annual National Short Film and Video 
Competition. 

$1,000 cash prizes awarded in numerous 
categories, including narrative, non- 
fiction, animation, experimental and more. 

Entry fee: $35 Deadline: March 1 , 1 991 

For an entry form, USA Film Festival 
call or write: 2917 Swiss Avenue 

Dallas, Texas 75204 
214-821-6300 
Fax-821-6364 



THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT 
AUSTIN 

DEPARTMENT OF RADIO-TELEVISION-FILM 

Applicants are sought for three positions for Fall 1991. We offer a multi- 
disciplinary program in film and video production, screen writing, critical 
and cultural studies, international communication, communication 
technologies, ethnic/minority communication and mass communication. 

(1) Film/Video Production and/or Screenwriting. This position 
may be filled at lecturer, tenure-track or tenured rank. Appointment 
requires MFA or PhD, and/or strong record of production and/or writing 
achievement. Previous college teaching and administrative experience are 
desirable. Send sample reel (16mm, 3/4" or VHS cassette), and/or writing 
samples, with application. 

(2) Film/Television Studies and (3) Media Economics/Institutions . 
Applicants for position 2 should be able to teach, conduct and supervise 
research in the history, theory and/or criticism of film and/or television; 
and for position 3, in two or more of the following areas: media 
economics and industry structure; media management; policy and 
regulation; communication technology. For both (2) and (3), applicants 
should hold a PhD at the time of appointment, and be committed to high 
quality undergraduate education. These are tenure-track, assistant 
professor positions. 

Salary is competitive and will be based on education and 
experience. Send application letter, resume, and names and phone 
numbers of at least three references. Screening of applicants will begin 
immediately. Interviewing will commence 12/1/90 and continue until an 
appointment is made. 

Send applications to Search Committees, Department of Radio- 
Television-Film, CMA 6.118, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712. 
Telephone: 512/471-4071; fax: 512/471-8500. 

The University of Texas at Austin is an Affirmative Action/Equal 
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ethnic minorities are strongly encouraged. 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



Mark Kitcl 




JANICE DRICKEY 



To the maxim, those who do not study history are 
condemned to repeat it, filmmaker Mark Kitchell 
is likely to respond, "We can only hope." The 38- 
year-old fundraiser, writer, producer, director, 
and distributor of Berkeley in the Sixties nurses a 
fervent and not so secret ambition: that his 1 17- 
minute paean to a turbulent era of social and 
political change will "help light the fires of new 
movements" among the college generation of the 
record-labeling, anti-flag-burning nineties. 

Kitchell has structured his documentary around 
three milestones born from the unrest on the 
University of California campus in Berkeley — 
the 1964 Free Speech Movement, Stop the Draft 
Week in 1967, and People's Park in 1969. On 
either side of these events, he sketches the grow- 
ing Civil Rights Movement, the rise of the Black 
Panthers, the 1968 Democratic Convention in 
Chicago, the appearance of the counterculture, 
the emergence of the Women's Liberation Move- 
ment, and the Third World Strikes. "There were so 
many events," Kitchell admits from his office at 
Fantasy Recording Studios in Berkeley. "We have 
huge scenes that we put together in the rough cut 
that we just, wholesale, lifted out of the film and 
in their places put a couple seconds narration and 
brief little stories." 



The film juxtaposes archival footage from news 
files, personal collections, and other compilation 
documentaries with on-camera interviews with 
15 activists who participated in — and sometimes 
led — various aspects of the movements. Inter- 
viewees include civil rights activist Jack Wein- 
berg, whose arrest sparked the Free Speech 
Movement; Jentri Anders, who moved from 
housewife to activist, left Berkeley at the height of 
the violence to join a commune, and wrote the 
book Beyond Counter-Culture about her experi- 
ences; John Gage, an ail-American swimmer who 
organized anti-war moratoriums in 1969 and 
worked on Robert Kennedy's presidential cam- 
paign; Frank Bardacke, one of the organizers of 
Stop the Draft Week; Jackie Goldberg, a sorority 
member who became one of the leaders of the 
Free Speech Movement and now heads the Los 
Angeles Board of Education; Ruth Rosen, now a 
professor of history at UC Davis; and Bobby 
Seale, cofounder of the Black Panthers who was 
put on trial for conspiracy in Chicago and now 
teaches at Temple University. 

"I was trying to get individual journeys of 
change that covered the whole breadth of the 
sixties," Kitchell explains. "I didn't ask them 
questions, just filled in an area and said, 'Do you 



Mark Kitchell's Berkeley in the Sixties 

recounts the era of widespread social unrest, 

from the Free Speech Movement of 1 964 to 

the People's Park takeover in 1 969. 

Photo: Don Kechely 




THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



remember...?'" The filmed results, tempered by 
time and maturity, provide a fascinating analy- 
sis — by those who participated — of what hap- 
pened, what worked, and what went wrong within 
the movements. 

Key players in the archival footage also define 
the era, most particularly Mario Savio, leader of 
the Free Speech Movement. After screening a 
rough cut of the picture, Savio agreed to appear on 
camera only if a committee could be appointed to 
make decisions about the film's content. Kitchell 
rejected the condition and lost Savio 's participa- 
tion in the film. At the Berkeley premiere, Kitchell 
says, Savio acknowledged that the film had turned 
out "as well as he could have hoped, and that he 
had been wrong not to trust me." 

After graduating from New York University 
film school in 1976, working in commercial film 
production in Los Angeles, and becoming "utterly 
frustrated with writing screenplays and trying to 
succeed in that whole Hollywood system," Kitch- 
ell decided in 1981 to return to documentary — 
"what I had known and loved in film school." 
Growing up in San Francisco during the sixties 
and marching with his parents to protest the war 
provided Kitchell with a "deep, personal motiva- 
tion" for his choice of subject matter. 

"I was making a film about the forces that 
formed me," he explains. "It was a chance to go 
back and really explore them and live them out 
with the people who made the events, the move- 
ments." Moments later, he admits, "On one level 
it was a crass, commercial decision, in that it 
would make a great film that a lot of people would 
be interested in seeing. And there was all that 
fabulous footage. It was a good story. Then you 
start to fill in all the motivations and the motives." 

Kitchell spent four months in Berkeley, gather- 
ing material on the sixties, writing down ideas, 
and exploring existing avenues of funding. "There 
was a point at the beginning in which I got turned 
down by every major public funding agency in the 
country," he recalls. "I considered dropping it 
before I'd even gotten started." Instead, he moved 
to Berkeley from Los Angeles in January 1984 
and began grassroots fundraising. Forming a 
partnership, he solicited investors at a minimum 
$2,500 a share, coming up with half a dozen 
backers. "I had to have at least $65,000 before I 
could spend any of that, so it went into escrow," he 
said. "Meanwhile, I was raising $25 at a time." 

Nineteen months later, he had the $70,000 he 
needed to begin. Six interviews were filmed, at 
three hours apiece (all the budget would allow), 
and a team of 20 volunteers combed through miles 
of archival footage from the period. Kitchell and 
editor Veronica Selver began work on a rough cut 
in October 1986. A year later, he toted a three- 
and-a-quarter-hour version to the Independent 
Feature Market in New York City but was unable 
to find a distributor for the project. A completed 
rough cut was then shown at the Pacific Film 
Archive in January of 1988. 

"We were pursuing three modes of completion 



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A protester is throttled in Oakland 

during Stop the Draft Week in 1967, one 

of the major milestones around which 

Kitchell structures his documentary. 

Photo: Jeffrey Blankfort 



money from public television — NEH (National 
Endowment for the Humanities), CPB (Corpora- 
tion for Public Broadcasting), and American Ex- 
perience" Kitchell says, "and all three turned me 
down. At that point my whole staff either quit or 
quit temporarily until I could get myself out of the 
hole. It took me more than six months to grass- 
roots fundraise and get moving again. Of course, 
I was too far down the road at that point to stop." 
Kitchell and new associate producer Kevin Pina 
mounted a fundraiser in Los Angeles which he 
says was "good and successful," thanks in large 
part to the help of Medical Aid to El Salvador. 
(Proceeds from the September 19 opening of 
Berkeley at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles went 
to that organization.) 

Prior to shooting another dozen interviews, 
Kitchell and Selver worked with their advisors 
and filmmaking colleagues to shape the film's 
structure and create a two-hour fine cut. The 
filmmaker returned to the Independent Feature 
Market in 1989 and collared Marc Weiss, pro- 
ducer of the public television documentary series 
P.O.V., in the hallway. "He did something he's 
never done before," Kitchell says admiringly. 
"He committed to the film and he didn't have his 
funding; he didn't have a committee." With fin- 
ishing funds provided by P.O.V., Kitchell was 
able to complete the film in January 1990. 

His greatest production challenge, he says, was 
finding a place in the film to document the early 
years of the Women ' s Movement. It was a period 
in history, he contends, that lacked archival film 
and was not demarcated by events. After an un- 
successful attempt to tack the movement onto the 
end of the film, Kitchell brought together women 
who were important to a particular phase of the 
sixties for a recreation of a consciousness-raising 
group. That idea also refused to fly, and the 
segment was dropped. 

While working feverishly to getBerkeley ready 
for its premiere at the 1990 United States Film 
Festival in Park City, Utah, Kitchell received a 
telephone call from Ruth Rosen, one of the film's 
advisors. "Ruth called me up, saying, 'Mark, 
where 's the Women's Movement?'" he recalls 
with a grin. A crisis meeting resulted, and the 
Women's Movement became part of what Kitch- 
ell calls "the mood of '68 scene." "It's the only 
scene in the film not driven by events," he ex- 
plains. "We're sketching everything from revolu- 
tionary expectations, to worldwide unrest, to 
Chicago, to the Third World Strikes. In things like 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 




the counterculture, the Panthers, or the Women's 
Movement," he continues, "the challenge was 
clearly to relate it to the main strand of the film 
which is, what is its relationship to Berkeley, to 
the white student movement?" 

Berkeley in the Sixties went on to win the 
Audience Award for Best Documentary at Park 
City. P.O.V.'s Weiss offered to give Kitchell a 
"theatrical window" if a suitable offer for theatri- 
cal distribution resulted from the festival screen- 
ings. The few offers that were tendered, however, 
did not pan out. A month later, the film garnered 
kudos at the Berlin Film Festival, but still no 
distributor would commit. "I've come to feel that 
it goes beyond being a politically difficult thing to 
support," Kitchell said. "It's just plain, old, too 
messy. The sixties are messy and unresolved and, 
if you're really true to the time, you're going to 
press people's buttons. It's a lot easier to fund civil 
rights than those white middle-class radicals with 
their ambivalent motivations." 

The pressure was on from P.O.V. to announce 
Berkeley in the Sixties as part of their third season. 
As Kitchell worked desperately to forestall that 
announcement, Weiss took another gamble and 
agreed to delay exhibition one year, until June 
1991. Kitchell then decided to distribute the film 
himself. California Newsreel has taken on 
Berkeley's educational distribution, Producers 
Services is handling foreign sales, and Kitchell 
has returned to fundraising to pay for prints and 
promotional material for a national theatrical re- 
lease. So far, there are 16 theatrical bookings 
around the country and 16 pending engagements. 
In all, Kitchell received approximately $40,000 in 
grants and no public television funding, except for 
the P.O.V. sale. He received one "tiny, little state 
humanities grant" and no NEA or NEH funding. 



Fantasy deferred rental fees for $30,000 worth of 
facilities and equipment, to be paid back out of the 
proceeds of the film. "There's a real price to pay 
for doing a film as independent as I did," Kitchell 
admits. "I started down the road figuring that, if 
nothing else, I would depend on grassroots fund- 
raising. And, boy, I really made my bed and had to 
lie in it!" 

Kitchell thinks of Berkeley as a Rorschach test, 
from which people derive different interpreta- 
tions. He considers calls for more balance in the 
film "a stupid concern." He remarks, "The discus- 
sion going on within the movement about what 
it's about and what way it should go is much more 
interesting and enlightening than having some 
sorority girl say, T agreed with the goals of the 
Free Speech Movement, but it was disruptive.'" 
Though he says he should try something lighter 
after Berkeley, Kitchell admits, "Already I'm a 
step or two into the next project [an exploration of 
our attitudes and values concerning garbage], 
which is just as big and ambitious. If anything, it's 
going to be harder." 

In between fundraising efforts and a new fam- 
ily (he became a father during production and has 
a second child on the way), Kitchell is finding 
time to enjoy audience reactions to Berkeley in the 
Sixties as it opens across the country. "We were 
trying to make it for both the 20-year-olds and the 
40-year-olds, but we always knew that our first 
responsibility had to be to the 20-year-olds, the 
students of today," he says. "I feel proud that we 
were able to make a film that appeals to both." 

Janice Drickey is a freelance writer in northern 
California. 




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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



Inside Out and Upside Down 



Brazilian Video Groups: TVDO and Olhar Eletronieo 



ARLINDO MACHADO 



J.F IT WERE POSSIBLE TO COUNT THE SOURCES OF TALENT, WHETHER 
individual talent or the talent of groups, that constitute the wave of inde- 
pendent video production in Brazil, they might add up to about one hundred. 
Other generations have regarded — at times still regard — television as 
branded by some kind of original sin, condemned to incarnate the structures 
of power of a modern technological society. Yet young Brazilian video- 
makers have put their faith in the possibility of making television in a 
different guise: more creative, more democratic. They have kept alive the 
hope that the electronic media, with all their immense capacity for technical 
intervention, may come to express the emergence of a new sensibility. In the 
understanding of this generation, the videocassette allows television to 
declare its independence from political and economic powers. The potential 
of television as a system of expression may then be exploited by a generation 
of videomakers who are disposed to transform the electronic image into a 
fact of the culture of our time. 

This television — daring, creative — has often brought into the limelight 
themes which are disquieting, disturbing, and for a long time found no place 
in television as it is commonly conceived. Independent production was 
systematically ignored, although, paradoxically, it was perfectly suited to 
the small screen, accurately used the forms of television, and took every 
advantage of the electronic resources of the studio. Yet in Brazil, the 
constructive possibilities of television could only be investigated outside 
television, on alternative — and closed — circuits. 

However, the fact of independent video being thus outlawed gave it 
greater intensity. It was less entangled with the centralized of interests or 
with the high capital costs of broadcast television. It was produced and 
distributed outside official circuits and was able to invest in television's 
cultural function, experimenting with electronic languages, acting as a 
sounding board for the grave social problems of the country, seeking to 
express the deepest malaise of our time. In this sense video has been able to 
serve a vanguard role, in the productive meaning of that term: to open up 
new horizons, explore new paths, try out new functions, turn back the 
authority-based relationship between producer and viewer. The effect has 
been to force progress in television as a conventional institution, exces- 
sively inhibited as it is by the weight of the interests at stake. 

TVDO: Things Inside Out 

It would be impossible to cover every one of the most important independent 
video groups active in Brazil during the eighties. Here we shall look at just 



Videomaker Walter Silveira appears in Nom Plus Ultra, which 

borrows techniques from music video. The TVDO tape fragments 

images of national identity into a disconnected mosaic, held 

together only by a musical notion of rhythm. 

Courtesy TVDO 
30 THE INDEPENDENT 



two such fields of experience, among the most fertile and that have achieved 
the widest following. The first, TVDO, is linked strictly with avant-garde 
circles in Sao Paulo and surfaced during the early eighties with new ideas 
that have had considerable impact. 

TVDO has represented perhaps the best translation into electronic media 
of the demolishing and anarchical spirit shown in the cinema of Glauber 
Rocha. TVDO began with what we might call inside-out reporting, that is, 
works of a supposedly documentary nature which, instead of concentrating 
on what is apparently the central event as normal broadcast TV would, focus 
on peripheral aspects which are usually ignored. For example: a football 
match where the camera seeks out not the players and the movements of the 
game but the behavior of the crowd {TeleshowdeBola, 1983); arockconcert 
where the true spectacle is provided by the fans, the people engaged in 
selling refreshments, souvenirs, and black market tickets, anonymous 
minor singers, indeed, anything but the rock band from the States {Quern 
Kiss TV, 1983). 

This approach to turning spectacle inside out, as it were, runs right 
through the group's work. In a certain sense, it is an incarnation of the 
grotesque realism of which Mikhail Bakhtin speaks in the context of 
carnival culture. Here we see the inverted reality of the carnivalesque, par- 
allel to what is recognized by authority, where the scene is dominated by 
cynicism, grossness, obscenity, heresy, and parody. This then enables an 
alternative view of the world, one not shackled by civilization, open and 
sensitive to the relative nature of values and the circumstantial nature of 
power and knowledge. 

The TVDO group has also been responsible for highly radical experi- 
ments in terms of formal invention and renewal of the expressive qualities 
of video. The most extreme example of this is VT Preparado ACIJC 
(Prepared Video ACIJC, 1986), by Pedro Vieira and Walter Silveira. This 
is a passionate act of homage to the composer of silence ( JC is John Cage) 
and the poet of the blank page (AC is Augusto de Campos). In this tape the 




JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 




blank screen predominates; on occasion, extremely rapidly flashing pulses 
and distortions generated by the equipment itself, with the pixels of the TV 
screen made visible through a process of exaggeration. VTPreparado might 
be seen as a radicalization of the formal proposition underlying an earlier 
work by the group Olhar Eletronico, Brasilia (1983), where long intervals 
showing only a blank screen ruin the stereotyped images of the city in which 
the country's political power is concentrated. Both VT Preparado and 
Brasilia are primarily portrayed at the level of sound, rather than image, 
making the tape unsuitable for broadcast over normal television channels. 

In stylistic terms, the most explicit reference in the works of the TVDO 
group is music video. But what the group absorbed from this genre is its 
principle of composition, rather than the format, which is generally quite 
rigid. Music videos are distinguished from the "prose" of cinema because 
they scrap the narrative basis of audiovisual syntax and replace it with image 
sequences with no immediate relationship to each other and no overt 
denotative function. As videomaker Walter Salles, Jr. remarked, what we 
find in most music videos is "a non-narrative, non-linear form known in the 
USA as 'non-associative imagery. ' What matters is not so much the need to 
tell a story, and more the desire to provide an overdose of sensations by way 
of non-related information accompanied by sounds in time to the rhythms 
of the images." Dissociated images, a collage of styles, make up heteroge- 
neous mosaics of unrelated material. In these terms one might describe the 
constructive process of TVDO as it appears in an exemplary work, a 
summation of sorts of the fragmentary universe suggested by the group, 
Nom Plus Ultra (1985), directed by Tadeu Jungle. 

Nom Plus Ultra is a veritable tropical salad, with performances by actors, 
interviews with politicians and artists, fragments from plays, pseudo- 
reporting from the streets, quasi-music videos with groups from the Brazil- 
ian artistic scene, shouts, chickens, shantytowns, bananas, the sea, people 
of Pentecostal religions speaking in tongues — with no connection between 
them except for a purely musical notion of rhythm. This radical fragmenta- 
tion is the reply of a new generation to attempts by their predecessors at 
forging a historical totality and teleological synthesis necessary to the 
Utopian project of constructing a "national identity." Now the spirit of 
parody and cynical humor corrodes everything — populist rural "roots" and 
"imported" urban values, jingoist tropical nationalism and predatory cos- 
mopolitanism, grotesqueries of mass culture and mustiness of the remains 
of the erudite. Since video can explain nothing further, Nom Plus Ultra 
radicalizes the experience of dispersion and doubt. 

A New Anthropology 

For an accurate assessment of the cultural contribution made by independ- 
ent video in Brazil, one would have to identify what is different in its way 



Actress Maria Alice Vergueiro in Nom Plus Ultra. 

Courtesy TVDO 

Ostensibly a record of a popular religious festival, TVDO's 
Caipira In becomes a reflection on the deforming presence of 
the videomakers and the distance between their cultures and 
that of their subject. 

Courtesy TVDO 




of looking at the country and its people. For a long time Brazilians were 
shown as exotic objects examined through the eyes of a voyeur. Internally 
this was the result of patronizing populist aesthetics and, externally, of what 
might be called an inside-out colonialist mentality, corroded by a feeling of 
commiseration. In cinema and television, the camera always sought to 
construct a particular image of Brazil, rural and wretched on the one hand, 
yet bucolic and folkloric on the other. 

For years, decades even, there was a fascination with the iconography of 
misery and local color. The cameras invaded the privacy of the humble, and 
without asking permission or paying for their participation, kidnapped their 
images for use in demagogy, or with a view to making misery aesthetically 
acceptable. The photographer, the cinematographer, arrived as it were by- 
parachute in the middle of a desolate landscape and, without taking the 
trouble to understand the reality that was his object, without cultivating 
more intimate contact with the people in front of his lens, began to shoot, to 
make a record of events. The world of the "other" was conceived as a ready- 
made whole, prepared for observation and representation in such a way that 
there was no difficulty, no complexity that might interfere with its view- 
point. 

In more recent years a different mentality has arisen among the makers 
of documentaries, a different way of looking at Brazil and Brazilians. In 
cinema this appears in the painful self-criticism of populist instrumental- 
ism, as carried out, for example, by Eduardo Coutinho in his vigorous 
production Cabra Marcado para Morrer (A Goat Marked Out for Death. 
1984), or in anti-documentary shorts which refuse to take over. lock, stock, 
and barrel, the image of the "other." Outstanding among these are the parody 
Congo ( 1 972), by Arthur Omar, and the corrosive Mato Eles? (Shall I Kill 
Them?, 1983), by Sergio Bianchi. 

But it is the videomakers who give weight to a different anthropolog) and 
try out other possible relationships between the speaking subject and « hat 
is represented. This generation rejects full-blown representations of the 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



Olhar Eletronico invented the character of Ernesto Varela, a 

bungling, ill-informed, and ingenuous journalist, to comment on 

the aseptic star reporters in Brazil. In Ernesto Vaerla em Serra 

Pelada, he goes to the gold mines of Serra Pelada. 

Courtesy Olhar Eleh-onico 



whole; its doubts are rendered perfectly explicit, it declares the partiality of 
intervention, it enquires about the limits of the meaningful gesture and the 
ability to know the "other." One who points a camera towards the other is 
not necessarily in a position of privilege. As a producer of meanings, s/he 
no longer has authority to tell the entire truth about what is shown nor is able 
to impose the fantasy of coherence on the culture. Nor are videomakers 
absent from the text, nor do they hide behind the camera in such a way as 
to suggest a supposed neutrality. The production of meanings and the 
legibility of new video products now depends on the ability to create new 
relationships between the various parts in question. This project is less to tell 
the truth about the "other," a revelation or translation into our canons of 
intelligibility, than it is an attempt to bridge two cultures so that there may 
at last be dialogue between them. 

There are different ways of going about this. Caipira In (Local Groove, 
1987), a disconcerting work by Roberto Sandoval, Tadeu Jungle, and 
Walter Silveira (the latter two members of TVDO), demonstrates one. At 
first sight the tape looks like yet another work concerned with the preserva- 
tion of popular culture, commissioned by an official body for its archive or 
recorded as a trace of the national heritage. The apparent concept is to 
document a popular religious festival that takes place every year in the small 
town of Sao Luis do Paraitinga, in the state of Sao Paulo. Yet the video 
denies the recording function of the camera. It establishes a distance 
between subject and object, between observer and observed, almost entirely 
wiping out the voices and the statements of those with whom it is concerned. 
Electronic studio effects contaminate the in loco imagery, the montage 
frustrates any coherent explanation of the event, and even the sounds 
recorded during the festivities are electronically processed so that they 
become pale vestiges of audio verite. 

Caipira In is less a documentary about a popular festival than a reflection 
on the distance between two irreconcilable cultures — or, more exactly, a 
demonstration of our inability to live the experience of the "other" as such. 
The makers interfere. They have no hesitation in displaying themselves as 
a deforming presence. When they focus on the culture of the "other," they 
do not deny themselves; they do not renounce their own world, nor their own 
values, their own culture. They do not try to dissolve themselves in that 
"other." No pretensions of objectivity conceal the fact that the subject in the 
performance, upon coming face to face with someone else's festivities, 
brings along one's own world, history, and cultural points of reference. 
Using these as a starting point, as well as a filter, they approach the "other." 
Thus Caipira In becomes a report upon this distance, a declaration of being 
conscious of it, a questioning of the entry of an analyst, an interpreter, into 
a reality which is not hers or his. The tape serves as a deconstruction of 
documentary illusion, in which the intervention of the speaking subject 
becomes a criticism of the ability to represent reality. 

Even so, it could be said of Caipira In that the presence of the speaking 
subject remains excessive. The difference between the two cultures, the 
impossibility of assessing one being by the criteria of another, is extremely 
lucid in the tape, yet the work falls into a relativism from which there is no 
escape and which does not take long to reveal its cynical side. Once the 




difference between I and the "other" is so radically marked, any contact with 
the experience of another culture becomes a priori impossible, hence the 
difficulty of imagining a strategy which might allow one culture to approach 
another and communicate with its counterpart. The question which remains 
unresolved in a video like Caipira In is just that: Once checkmate is reached 
in documentary production and television journalism (in the common 
senses of those words), how can one imagine a new strategy for bridge 
building between cultures? 

Another Direction: Olhar Eletronico 

Another group of videomakers in Brazil attempts to answer this question, 
but they follow a path very different from that of TVDO. What Olhar 
Eletronico seeks is no longer a radical separation, but rather a negotiation, 
an exchange, the possibility of dialogue, an exercise in polyphony that 
allows voices to be heard in all their multiplicity. Yet this process is less 
simple than it may seem at first sight, for communication between different 
cultures is already inflected by inequality and power: one of the conflicting 
sides lacks the instruments and the know-how to be able to carry through the 
dialogue under conditions of equality. 

Even so, in their works of greater consequence, Olhar Eletronico strives 
to rupture any relationship based on knowledge or authority that may exist 
between the makers and the object in focus, not superimposing on the 
images of the latter any supposed discourse of truth, instead creating devices 
whereby the latter may reply to the enquiries of the former. Fundamentally, 
the group does this by inverting the addictive schemes of reporting used by 
commercial TV networks, which reduce the ideological, cultural, linguistic, 
ethnic, and religious diversity of the inhabitants of the entire country to a 
single integrated normative discourse — the discourse of institutionalized 
television. 

To let the people speak for themselves, to let the object of attention 
express her or himself freely , to make the techniques of production transpar- 
ent to the protagonists — these are some of the guiding principles in the work 
of Olhar Eletronico. They may be identified, as an example, in Do Outro 
Lado de sua Casa {From the Other Side of Your House, 1986). in which 
Marcelo Machado, Renato Barbieri, and Paulo Morelli examine the daily 
lives of a group of down-and-out men and women, more or less outcasts 
from society. But here we find none of the feeling of commiseration or guilt 
common to a particular Christian way of looking at the meek. On the 
contrary, as the video evolves, these indigent people begin to impose their 
own discourse and to express the reasons for their condition in their own 
way. One of them even ends up by taking the microphone in hand and 
directing the interviews with his companions. Thus, in a disturbing inver- 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 




sion, the object of investigation takes his place behind the camera and also 
becomes the subject of the investigation, thus avoiding any approach which 
may be humiliating for the participants. 

This form of approach is dear to the hearts of young videomakers, and it 
may be said that it is one of their most important victories. We find it again 
throughout the immense body of material collected by Andrea Tonacci 
among the Indians in the north of the country. We find it in some of the works 
of Rita Moreira, such as A Dama do Pacaembu {The Lady of Pacaembu, 
1983), an interview with a poor woman who claims to hold a doctorate in 
psychology and who has some disconcerting things to say about economics, 
morals, and television, or She Has a Beard (made in New York in 1 975 with 
Norma Pontes), a "documentary" about a bearded lady in which the 
protagonist, instead of appearing before the camera as the embarrassed 
object of the inquisitorial eyes of makers and spectators, goes behind the 
camera and questions women about why they reproduce the stereotyped 
patterns of feminine beauty. 

This attitude is new in Brazil, and it has been shaped by independent 
video. New Brazilian Cinema, political heir to a long tradition of populism 
that left its mark on Brazil for about half a century, treated the people in a 
paternalistic manner without ever letting them speak for themselves about 
their problems. The multitude, reduced to misery, was shown by the 
filmmakers as an amorphous mass, destitute of inner life and of will (in the 
films of Ruy Guerra and Glauber Rocha, for example) or as a collection of 
individuals reduced to the simple state of animals (in films like Vidas Secas, 
1963). It never passed through the heads of the filmmakers during those 
Utopian times of New Cinema that simple people who had been humiliated 
could still be endowed with interior wealth and capable at times of asking 
questions which leave us dumb. 

This is the directional change which may be observed in a video like Do 
Outro Lado de sua Casa. The poor and the wretched are no longer shown 
as flat personages, stylized, incapable of understanding and devoid of 
ambiguity. Now the truth appears as something much more complex than 
conceptual categories authorize us to understand. 

In the search for a more productive relationship with the complex reality 
of Brazil, Olhar Eletronico invented the figure of a bungling anti-reporter 
called Ernesto Varela (played by Marcelo Tas), whose notorious ingenu- 
ousness permitted him to make an entirely new type of contact with the 
objects of the journalistic project. Varela is, at the same time, a corrosive 
parody of conventional television journalism, as well as a new proposal for 
journalism, in which the team attempts to get closer to the common person, 
to win his or her confidence and cooperation in such manner that s/he is 
better able to speak. Varela is informal, muddle-headed; he does not hide his 
ignorance about the subjects of his interviews and has to appeal constantly 



In Do Outro Lado da Sua Casa the country's poor speak for 
themselves, taking over the mic and the role as interviewer. 

Courtesy Olhar Eletronico 

Like TDVO, Olhar Eletronico makes formally innovative works, 
such as Marli Normal, which tells of a typist's daily routine 
through rapidly shifting planes and alternating rhythms. 

Courtesy Olhar Eletronico 




for the intellectual support of the camera operator. The model for television 
in Brazil, with its aseptic and technically perfect programs, its shop- 
window-dummy presenters and its star reporters, more concerned with their 
own image than with the truth of their subject — this model he turns upside 
down. 

Olhar Eletronico does not ignore formal innovation. Like TVDO, it was 
one of the groups which helped sweep the mildew out of the electronic 
media, in a search for bold solutions never before attempted in the routines 
of television. The group began by making extremely short tapes, three or 
four minutes in duration, in which they experimented with extremely 
concentrated language and exploited what the Americans call the machine 
gun cut. This is what they did, for example, in Tempos (Times, 1982), an 
electronic flickering of images pirated from TV and edited almost frame by 
frame. Again, in Marli Normal ( 1 983), the daily routine of a typist is told on 
rapidly shifting planes and in alternating rhythms. This tape is thought by 
many to be Olhar Eletronico's best work. 

At a later, more recent stage, and as social preoccupations came to 
assume greater dimensions, these formal procedures came to be used in less 
radical fashion by the group, in part because they were no longer pertinent 
to the group's projects. Even so, their works have always embodied the spirit 
of youth and an attitude of nonconformity towards the canons inherited from 
television and cinema. Indeed, some of the programs which they have 
introduced, such as Crig-Ra and TV' Mix for TV Gazeta in Sao Paulo, and 
Ra-tim-bum for TV Cultura in the same city, have been greeted as moments 
of rupture within Brazilian television. 

Arlindo Machado is professor of communication theory at the Catholic 
University of Sao Paulo and author of The Specular Illusion (A Theory of 
Photography) and The Art of Video. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



Visual Media, Cultural Politics 
and Anthropological Practice 



TERENCE TURNER 



Editor' s note : The first section of Terence Turner' s article was published in 
the Spring J 990 issue of the Commission on Visual Anthropology Review* 
and is reprinted here with the author's permission. 

IhE KAYAPO, A GO-SPEAKING PEOPLE OF CENTRAL BRAZIL, HAVE 
become widely known in the last few years for their remarkably bold and 
successful actions in defense of their lands, rights, and environment.** 
Audio-visual media have played a central role in these actions, not only in 
the usual forms of film, video, and television coverage by Brazilian and 
foreign crews, but also in that of video 
coverage by the Kayapo themselves 
using their own audiocassette record- 
ers and video cameras. In this paper I 
discuss some implications of these 
uses of audio-visual media both for 
Kayapo culture and politics and for 
anthropological theory and practice. 

The Kayapo presently are divided 
into 14 autonomous communities 
scattered over an area roughly the size of Great Britain. One of these com- 
munities, Gorotire, made peaceful contact with Brazilians 50 years ago; 
most of the others established peaceful relations during the 1950s. The first 
couple of decades of peaceful coexistence with Brazilian society brought 
the Kayapo the same array of catastrophes suffered by other Amazonian 
peoples under the same circumstances. Epidemics carried off a significant 
percentage of their population, large areas of their traditional lands were 
seized either by the state or private agents, and they were reduced to 
dependence on representatives of the alien dominant society for a variety of 
medical, technological, and economic needs. 

Unlike some other Amazonian peoples, however, the Kayapo were able 
to maintain their traditional social institutions and ceremonial practices, and 
by the end of the 1960s they had begun to leam and take control of 
administrative, technological, and medical functions within their own 
communities. During the 1970s and eighties, Kayapo became paramedics, 
FUNAI (Brazilian Bureau of Indian Affairs) agents, motorboat, tractor, and 
truck operators and mechanics, radio operators, and even, in a couple of 
cases, missionaries, effectively recovering local control of all major points 
of dependency on the national society within their own communities. Their 
population had also begun to increase; the extant communities have by now 
reached the demographic level they had before the establishment of peace- 
ful contact. Extensive tracts of lost territory have been reclaimed, in some 



Some Implications of 

Recent Uses of Film and Video 

Among the Kayapo of Brazil 



* The CVA Review is available from the Commission on Visual Anthropology, 
Universite de Montreal, Departement d'anthropologie, C.P. 6128, Succursale A, 
Montreal, PQ, H3C 3J7, Canada. 

** Turner 1987, 1989a, 1989b, 1989c, 1989d, n.d.l, n.d.2, n.d.3 
34 THE INDEPENDENT 



cases by protracted armed struggle. There occurred, in sum, a general 
resurgence of cultural self-confidence, social morale, and political will. 

Throughout this period the Kayapo were visited by a number of anthro- 
pologists, journalists, and other outsiders, who introduced them to photog- 
raphy, film, audiocassette recorders, radio, and finally video cameras. At the 
same time, these visitors made the Kayapo aware that the outside world, 
beyond the limited circle of local Brazilian frontier society and national 
government officials, valued their culture and was generally inclined to 
support their political and land rights. The Kayapo also learned how audio 
and visual media had become a major channel of communication within this 
external world. Travel to Brazilian towns revealed the importance of media 
such as commercial radio, television, journalistic photography, and cinema 
in Western culture. Electronic audio and visual media, in short, appeared as 
a new technology of great power and strategic importance, which was at the 
same time directly accessible to nonliterate people like the Kayapo. The 

Kayapo became interested in learn- 
ing and acquiring this new technol- 
ogy and its associated power for them- 
selves. 

The first step was audiocassette 
recorders. By the mid 1970s, the 
Kayapo already owned numerous 
cassette decks, which they used to 
record and play back their own cere- 
monial performances and send com- 
munications from one village to another. Then in 1985 three Brazilian 
researchers formed a project to introduce the Kayapo community of 
Gorotire to the use of video cameras and monitors. They gave a camcorder, 
videocassette recorder deck, and monitor to the village and trained some 
Kayapo in video photography. When I went to Gorotire in 1987 with a 
documentary film crew from Granada Television (UK) as anthropological 
consultant for a film in Granada's Disappearing World series, I brought a 
second camcorder for the Metuktire community of Kayapo, together with 
a VCR and TV monitor. Returning in January 1989 as anthropological 
consultant for a second Disappearing World film, I brought a third camcor- 
der, which the Kayapo used to make their own video record of their dem- 
onstration at Altamira. Both of these video cameras, with their attendant 
batteries, VCR, monitor, and numerous blank videotapes, were paid for by 
Granada as part of the quid pro quo presented to the Kayapo for their 
cooperation in the filming. 

The Kayapo have used their own capacity for video in a variety of ways: 
the documentation of their own traditional culture, above all ceremonial 
performances; secondly, the recording of important events and actions such 
as the Altamira demonstration or the capture of the gold mines of Maria 
Bonita and transactions with Brazilians, so as to have the equivalent of a 
legally binding transcript of business contracts or political agreements (for 
example, the negotiations of contracts with air taxi pilots for the supply of 
the captured gold mines); and thirdly, as an organizing tool. An example of 
the latter was the appeal of the assembled Kayapo chiefs for attendance at 
the Altamira demonstration, which was videotaped at the close of their 
planning meeting at Gorotire to be sent around to other Kayapo and non- 
Kayapo native communities (the basic message was spoken in Portuguese, 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 




The Kayapo, a people from the 
edge of the Amazon, have 
learned to take video into their 
own hands as a way of 
preserving their culture. After 
gold was discovered in 1 982 on 
Kayapo land, one community 
seized the Maria Bonita mine 
from white Brazilians and now 
run the operation, taking a five 
percent share. Here villagers 
play back historically significant 
scenes of Kayapo warriors 
taking possession of the mine. 
From Granada Television's 
Disappearing World: The 
Kayapo. 

Courtesy Granada Television Ltd. 



followed by individual chiefs' appeals and exhortations in Kayapo). 

More elaborate plans are currently being made for cultural self-docu- 
mentation using video. The Kayapo leader, Payakan, has established a 
"Kayapo Foundation" {Fundacao Mebengokre), primarily concerned with 
setting up and running an "extractive reserve" within the Kayapo Indige- 
nous Area. One of the projected activities of this foundation is to be a 
systematic program of documenting, on videotape, traditional Kayapo 
knowledge of the forest environment and its uses. Other aspects of tradi- 
tional culture are also to be recorded, such as myths and oral history, 
ceremonies, and oratory by community leaders. These are to be used for the 
education of young people in traditional Kayapo culture. The tapes of 
ecological knowledge are also to be made available to Brazilian and 
international scholars and others interested in the use of renewable forest 
resources. 

Although several Kayapo from different communities have become 
expert video camerapersons, none have yet acquired the capability to edit 
or dub. The Kayapo have no access to editing, copying, or climaticly stable 
storage facilities. The latter are of prime importance, since climatic condi- 
tions and the uneven mechanical operation of generator-powered VCR 
decks in Kayapo villages lead to rapid deterioration of videotapes. To begin 
to meet these needs, I have obtained a grant from the Spencer Foundation 
to support the establishment of a Kayapo film archive at the video editing 
facility of the Ecumenical Center for Documentation and Information 
(CEDI) in Sao Paulo. Kayapo would have access to this facility for editing 
their own videotapes and could store their original rushes and masters in the 
air-conditioned archive located on the premises. Skilled personnel of CEDI 
and the Center for Indigenous Work (CTI) have indicated a willingness to 
teach editing skills to Kayapo video/filmmakers and work with them in a 
supportive capacity in the editing of their films. The projects of cultural self- 
documentation envisioned by Payakan and other Kayapo leaders will 
hopefully be able to be supported through this center and archive, to be 
established this summer. 

From an anthropological point of view, the Kayapo acquisition and use 
of video technology is fraught with implications for Kayapo culture. In 
assessing these implications, it is necessary to take one's bearing from the 
historical context of the appropriation by the Kayapo of the whole range of 
technological skills most immediately involved in mediating their relation- 
ship to the dominant society. The Kayapo have already in effect reoriented 
themselves from the perspective of an isolated traditional society to that of 



a dependent part of a social system which includes the dominant Western 
society as well. They have, at the same time, grasped that the situation of 
contact with the dominant society provides opportunities for considerable 
local autonomy and manipulation through the exploitation of their own po- 
litical, economic, and technological resources. 

At the same time, their remarkable success in seizing and exploiting these 
opportunities has been achieved through a reliance on their traditional social 
organization and cultural forms. While their struggle has been conceived as 
a defense of their traditional culture and social institutions, however, it has 
entailed the objectification of both in ways and to a degree unknown in 
"traditional" times (whether these are defined as preceding the earliest 
European contacts or the establishment of peaceful relations with Brazil). 
By "objectification," I mean, firstly, the conception of themselves as having 
a "culture" in our sense of the term, and secondly, the notion that this 
"culture" is something to be defended and consciously reproduced through 
deliberate choice and political action in a situation where alternatives 
(namely, assimilation to the national culture) are conceivable. 

Representational media (photography, audio recording, but above all 
film and video) have played and are playing a key role in this process of 
cultural self-objectification. As the most concretely accessible aspects of 
the recording of their culture by outsiders, such as anthropologists and 
journalists, such media conveyed to the Kayapo more vividly and directly 
than any other form of communication that, in the eyes of these puzzling but 
potent outsiders, their stock of collective patterns of behavior constituted a 
total entity called a "culture" and, as such, had value in the eyes of that part 
of the alien society from whence the culture recorders emanated. The power 
of representation through these media thus became identified with the 
power of conferring value and meaning on themselves in the eyes of the 
outside world and, reflexively, in new ways, in their own eyes as well. The 
technology involved thereby assumed the character of a power to control the 
terms of this meaning and value-imbuing process. The acquisition of this 
technology, both in the form of hardware and operating skills, thus became 
a primary goal in the struggle for self-empowerment in the situation of inter- 
ethnic contact. 

The significance of the acquisition of media capacity for the cultural 
politics of empowerment is manifest in the prominence the Kayapo give to 
their video camerapersons in their confrontations with the national society. 
The role of Kayapo camerapersons in situations such as the Altamira 
encounter is not only to make a Kayapo documentary record but to be 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



In the village of Gorotire, the Kayapo 

listen intently, then angrily, to a recorded 

message from neighboring chief Rop ni, 

who reprimands them for allowing gold 

prospectors on Kayapo land. 

Courtesy Granada Television lid. 



documented in the act of doing so by the non- 
Kayapo media. The point is thus made that the 
Kayapo are not dependent on the outside soci- 
ety for control over the representation of them- 
selves and their actions but possess to a full and 
equal extent the means of control over the 
image, with all that it implies for the ability to 
define the meaning and value of acts and events 
in the arena of inter-ethnic interaction. 

Video media thus become not merely a means 
of representing culture, actions, or events and 
the objectification of their meanings in social consciousness, but them- 
selves the ends of social action and objectification in consciousness. The 
Kayapo have passed rapidly from the initial stage of conceiving video as a 
means of recording events to conceiving of video as the event to be recorded 
and, more broadly, conceiving events and actions as subjects for video. 

The recent inter-tribal meeting in Altamira, which the Kayapo organized 
to protest a Brazilian project to build a hydroelectric dam scheme in the 
Xingu River valley, was planned from the outset as a demonstration of 
Kayapo culture and of political solidarity among the different Kayapo 
villages and non-Kayapo native peoples, that would lend itself to represen- 
tation by informational media, above all film, video, and television. The 
documentary film made by Granada Television, The Kayapo: Out of the 
Forest, for which I served as anthropological consultant, was planned in 
close consultation with the Kayapo organizer of the Altamira meeting, 
Payakan, and formed an integral part of Payakan's plans for the demonstra- 
tion. The idea for the film, in fact, originated in discussions between me and 
Payakan during his tour of North America in November 1988, when I served 
as his translator and host in Chicago. Payakan explained that the Kayapo 
wanted a complete documentation made of all phases of the organization of 
the meeting, including the preliminary preparations in the Kayapo villages, 
and that they saw this as an important part of their presentation of the event 
to the outside world. He accordingly undertook to secure our entry into two 
of the main Kayapo villages involved in the project and the cooperation of 
the villagers in enacting their ritual and other preparations before our 
cameras. He also invited us to accompany him and a delegation of 30 
Kayapo leaders to inspect the huge hydroelectric dam at Tucurui, which 
formed an important part of the initial phase of the organizing for Altamira. 
All of these subjects were duly represented in our film. 

The staging of the Altamira meeting itself was comprehensively planned 
with a view to its appearance on film and video media. The daily sessions 
were in effect choreographed with gorgeous mass ritual performances 
which framed their beginnings, ends, and major high points. The encamp- 
ment of the Kayapo participants was created as a model Kayapo village, 
complete with families, traditional shelters, and artifact production, all on 
display for the edification of the hundreds of photojournalists, TV and film 
camera crews, and video cameras. The Kayapo leaders saw Altamira as a 
major opportunity to represent themselves, their society, and their cause to 
the world and felt that the impact it would have on Brazilian and world 
public opinion, via the media, would be more important than the actual 




dialogue with Brazilian representatives that transpired at the meeting itself. 
At the same time, they shrewdly realized that the production of a huge and 
gaudy confrontational event would draw large numbers of journalists and 
documentary-makers from the Brazilian and world media and that the 
presence of these witnesses and, through them, their mass audience ("the 
whole world is watching") would be their best guarantee that the Brazilian 
government would feel compelled to send its representatives to the meeting 
and to do its best to prevent violence against the indigenous participants. In 
the event, they were proved correct on all of these points. These, then, are 
further dimensions of the Kayapo use of media. 

The reflexive relationship of the participant observer to the reality he or 
she records is of course common to all modes of anthropological fieldwork. 
In attempting to document the role of audio and video media in the cultural 
transformation and self-conscientization of the Kayapo through the use of 
audio and video media, however, the reflexive dynamic of this relationship 
is greatly intensified. One not only becomes part of the process one is trying 
to record, but directly affects it in numerous ways, some intended and some 
not. 

What happened during the making of the first Granada Disappearing 
World film on the Kayapo is a case in point. I had planned the film as a 
comparative study of the reactions of two different Kayapo communities to 
the challenges presented by the encroachments of Brazilian society. I 
wanted to show that the Kayapo were successfully drawing on their 
common stock of social institutions and cultural values to resist and adapt 
to the national society and, at the same time, that they were in the process 
actively debating and revising the meaning of their own culture. The general 
point was that the "cultures" of simple societies like the Kayapo are not 
homogeneous, internally oriented, closed systems of "collective represen- 
tations," but active processes of political struggle over the terms and 
meanings of collective accommodation to historical situations involving 
interaction with external conditions, including other societies. I was aware 
of the Kayapo use of audiocassette recorders and video cameras, and 
planned to include this, along with other forms of newly acquired techno- 
logical expertise, in the film as instances of this general point. 

When our crew was preparing to leave the first of the two villages to go 
to the second, the leader of the community asked us to record a message from 
him to the second community on one of our audiocassette recorders. The 
message criticized the second community for allowing too much Brazilian 
exploitation of tribal land and resources and generally for going too far in 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



Attempting to prevent the construction of the Altamira 

hydroelectric dam that would flood much their land, over 

30 Kayapo chiefs met with the project's chief engineer. 

Several Kayapo video cameras were also on hand, making 

a record of each chiePs statement. From Granada 

Television's Disappearing World: Out of the Forest. 

Courtesy Granada Television Lid. 



the direction of acculturation to Brazilian ways. We duly called the tape to 
the attention of the second community, where it was played by that 
community's leading chief and to the assembled population. They reacted 
angrily to the criticisms of the first community's leader and several made 
speeches justifying their own approach to coexistence with the Brazilians, 
insisting that in their fashion they were remaining true to their culture. We 
filmed this dramatic and revealing encounter, and it became the central pivot 
of our film, linking the sections of the two communities as expressions of 
opposing positions in the historic debate taking place among the Kayapo 
over the meaning of their culture in the present crisis of inter-ethnic 
confrontation. As a prime example of the way the second community was 
attempting to use Brazilian technology to defend and preserve its Kayapo 
culture, we filmed their use of video to record their own ceremonies and 
encounters with the Brazilians, actually incorporating sections of videos 
they had shot in our film. In order to do this, however, we had to clean, 
restore, and recopy Kayapo videotapes which had been damaged by mildew 
and hard use. These in due course became available again to the community 
for showing on its own monitor. Meanwhile, our desire to film the Kayapo 's 
use of video stimulated them to videotape our crew filming their video 
camerapersons videotaping certain ceremonies. In all of these ways, our 
activity of video- and audio-recording the Kayapo became a material part 
of their own use of video and audio media for their own political and cultural 
purposes. This material participation became, in an unplanned and sponta- 
neous but therefore perhaps even more significant way, the organizing 
structure of our audio-visual representation of their cultural reality: the first 
Disappearing World Kayapo film. Our presentation of a video camera to the 
community was merely a further instance of this reflexive involvement in 
their use of audio-visual media. 

When these reflexive dimensions of audio-visual documentation of a 
contemporary cultural reality, like that of the Kayapo, are considered 
together with the ways reviewed above that the Kayapo have begun to 
incorporate audio-visual media and the material activity of audio-visual 
recording (e.g., the presence of Kayapo video camerapersons and non- 
Kayapo film crews) into their own collective acts of political confrontation 
and cultural self-definition, it becomes apparent that the use of audio-visual 
media has taken on dimensions of meaning without close parallels in 
traditional anthropological methods of fieldwork. The quantitative shift 
certainly approaches, if it has not already reached, the point of qualitative 
transformation. For the anthropological filmmaker, the change has had the 
character of a shift from participant observation to observant participation. 

This shift involves a change in the traditional terms of ethical responsi- 
bility in fieldwork. As a participant (willy-nilly) in processes of cultural 
self-conscientization and sociopolitical empowerment, the anthropological 
media user has some control over the terms of his or her participation, 
including the choice of deliberately planning his or her own documentary 
activity and its products so as to encourage, augment, or otherwise support 
the process he or she documents. The change wrought by the use of 
contemporary media technologies, however, affects not only the role of the 
anthropologists and documentary-makers, but the nature of the reality being 
documented. If the Kayapo are any indication, the processes of cultural and 




ethnic self-conscientization that have been catalyzed by the new media and 
their use in worldwide networks of communication are becoming far more 
important as a component of "culture" (or, by the same token, "ethnicity") 
both in the sense of becoming more complex and rapidly developing and in 
that of becoming more central to basic social and political processes. The 
nature of "culture" itself is changing together with the techniques we 
employ to study and document it. This is a phenomenon that calls for more 
study and documentation by anthropologists than it has thus far received. 



Update 



Editor's note: Since the preceding article was written, the author returned 
to several of the Kayapo communities where he had previously conducted 
research and filmed. What follows are excerpts from a report on recent 
achievements of the cooperative Kayapo Video Project, which resulted 
from the encounters and processes of self-documentation described in the 
earlier article. The full text of Turner's report on his activities and obser- 
vations based on this work during the past summer appears in the Fall 1 990 
issue of the Commission on Visual Anthropology Review. 

Turner returned to Brazil with an agenda for the project: to deliver a new 
video camera to the community of Mentuktire, which had two trained 
camerapeople but lacked a functioning video camera: to arrange access for 
Kayapo video camerapeople to video editing facilities, with training assis- 
tance from experienced video editing technicians, so that they could learn 
to edit their own videos; to videotape in the field, acquiring fresh material 
for use in the first editing sessions where Kayapo video editors would 
receive training; to observe Kayapo editors at work, noting and analyzing 
the criteria they employed in their editing decisions; to establish a Kayapo 
Video Archive; and to involve two Kayapo communities, Gorotire and 
A'ukre (in addition to Mentuktire), in the project, getting them to generate 
video material to edit and add to the common Kayapo Video Archive. 

It turned out that Kinhiabieti of Mentuktire had already videotaped two 
ceremonies before the community's video camera broke and was eager to 
edit this material. With the generous and extensive help of Vincent Carelli 
and other personnel at the Centro de Trabalho Indigenista (CTI) of Sao 
Paulo, I was able to arrange access for the Kayapo to the video editing 
facilities of the Centro. Carelli himself undertook to teach Kinhiabieti to 
edit, and supervised his use of the editing equipment in making finished 
videos of the two ceremonies. The results were the first two Kayapo-edited 
videos, a 17-minute tape of the women's naming ceremony or Menire 
Mebiok, and a 42-minute tape of the corresponding men's naming cere- 
mony, the Memu Mebiok. 

With Carelli's cooperation, I was also able to establish the embryonic 
Kayapo Video Archive at the CTI, starting with the original edited tapes of 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 




The beautiful-naming ceremony, an important 
ritual imparting status on the name-receiver, 
was videotaped and edited by Kinhiabieti in 
Mentuktire, Parque Nacional do Xingu. The 
three-month-long male naming ceremony is 
called the Memu Mebiok. 

Courtesy Kayapo/Turner 



the two ceremonies and other rushes brought by Kinhiabieti from Men- 
tuktire. The CTI is prepared to serve as the venue for all Kayapo video 
editing operations in the near future and to store video rushes and original 
finished videos from all Kayapo communities there. Videomakers from all 
Kayapo communities will have access to all these materials, and all Kayapo 
communities will be able to make copies of the finished videos for use in 
their own villages. It is also envisioned that the CTI Kayapo archive will 
serve as a distribution point for circulation to non-Kayapo interested in 
viewing these tapes. 

After editing the videos of the two ceremonies with Kinhiabieti at CTI. 
I returned with him to his home village of Mentuktire. There I presented the 
new video camera and supply of videotapes I had brought, explained my 
ideas for the video project to the people, and solicited their ideas about 
subjects to be filmed and about maintaining community input and control 
of the project . 

From Mentuktire I flew by air taxi to the Brazilian town of Redencao, 
located near the Kayapo village of Gorotire. There I found all the chiefs and 
younger leaders of Gorotire gathered for a meeting at a hostel the Gorotire 
maintain on the outskirts of town. I discussed the video project with them, 
and they concurred enthusiastically with its program and aims. Also in 
Redencao was Mokuka, the leader and video cameraman from A'ukre, with 
whom I had planned to coordinate that community's participation in the 
project. Mokuka was extremely enthusiastic about participating, personally 
learning to edit, and doing videotaping in his own community. I arranged to 
bring him to Sao Paulo to learn editing at CTI when I return in January, at 
which time I also hope to be able to bring a video camera for his commu- 
nity. 

I urged one of the Gorotire leaders to come back to Sao Paulo with me so 
that I could introduce him to the CTI and its editing facilities, and establish 
a direct connection between the Gorotire and the CTI. One of them, Tapiet, 
accepted my invitation, but took Carelli and me offguard when he cooly 
directed us, upon his arrival, to videotape his visit so that he could show the 
people back in the village everything he was seeing. We complied, reflect- 
ing on how well the Kayapo have mastered the civilizado maxim that what 
is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. 

In the course of our discussions, Tapiet formed the plan of making a video 
documentary of the various Brazilian threats to their environment (from 
miners, loggers, ranchers, and small-farm squatters) and of the projects for 
alternative economic development the Gorotire have established on the 



border of their reserve. Five border guard posts 
have been constructed, at each of which agricul- 
tural or gathering projects have been started to 
provide sources of cash income for the commu- 
nity. Tapiet is presently engaged in taping mate- 
rial for this video, together with another young 
Gorotire leader, Kuben'i. Tapiet and Kuben'i 
want to use their video to support appeals for aid 
to international funding agencies forthe Gorotire projects. At the same time, 
they are videotaping Gorotire rituals and have completed shooting on two 
men's naming ceremonies, the Takak and Memu Mebiok. 

At the meeting of Gorotire leaders that was in progress when I arrived in 
Redencao, I found that the main topic of discussion was the crisis that had 
just been precipitated by a dispute between two senior Kayapo chiefs, 
Pombo of Kikretum and Rop ni of Mentuktire, over the right to represent the 
Kayapo nation as a whole to the Brazilian and foreign public and media. 
This crisis was to have important repercussions on the video project. Stung 
by criticism from Rop ni, perhaps the best known and most influential 
Kayapo leader, FUNAI, the government Indian Service, had induced 
Pombo to stage a farcical media event in which he "deposed" Rop ni from 
the (fictitious) position of supreme Kayapo leader and proclaimed himself 
his successor in that role. A communique to this effect was circulated, 
purportedly with the assent of a number of Kayapo chiefs who had been 
assembled at Pombo's village for the purpose, which began with a declara- 
tion of unqualified devotion and support for FUNAI. I found that most 
Kayapo, leaders and rank and file alike, were in fact supporting Rop ni, and 
held Pombo's grandiose pretensions in contempt. 

Aware that I was going on to Brasilia, where Rop ni had gone to confront 
the crisis, the Gorotire chiefs asked me to bear a message to Rop ni 
conveying their support. This I duly did, at the same time taking the 
opportunity to present the video project to Rop ni, who had not been at 
Mentuktire when I had gone there with Kinhiabieti and whose support 
would be crucial to the success of the project in that community. Rop ni gave 
the project his full support. He is a culturally conservative leader, concerned 
with the preservation of Kayapo traditional knowledge, social institutions, 
and way of life. He saw the video project as an aid in this effort, and also 
emphasized that videos showing the Kayapo following their traditional 
ways would be politically effective in "shaming" Brazilian and interna- 
tional financial agencies attempting to institute "development" schemes 
that would disrupt Kayapo communities and their environment. 

In late October, several months after my return from Brazil, I received an 
urgent telephone call from Mokuka in Sao Paulo; he had come under the 
mistaken impression that I was still there. It developed that Mokuka and Rop 
ni had jointly called a plenary meeting of the leaders of all Kayapo commu- 
nities at A'ukre for mid-November, which was to serve both to reassert 
support for Rop ni's leadership in repudiation of Pombo's challenge and to 
ratify Mokuka's leadership of the large majority of the A'ukre community. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



The corresponding female naming 
ceremony is known as the Menire Mebiok. 

Courtesy Kayapo/Turner 



which he had decided to move to a new site as the 
result of a smoldering dispute with another A' ukre 
leader, Payakan. The A'ukre meeting of chiefs, 
ostensibly called to affirm Kayapo unity and Rop 
ni's leadership in the aftermath of Pombo's failed 
challenge, would also conveniently provide a 
capital setting for Mokuka to obtain the collective 
support of the assembled Kayapo leaders for his 
precipitation of the schism of A'ukre itself. 

Mokuka was very eager to make a video record of this meeting, which (he 
clearly hoped) would serve as a legitimating charter for his authority as 
leader of the new community he hopes to found following the meeting. This, 
it turned out, was the reason why he wanted so urgently to get in touch with 
me. Could I arrange somehow to get him a video camera before I came in 
January, so that the great council at A'ukre could be documented? As it 
turned out, I was able to obtain one for him, and he will thus be able to make 
a video record of this historic and politically important Kayapo gathering. 

He and I plan to review and edit the tapes of the A'ukre meeting at CTI 
in January. This episode makes clear the extent to which the use of video has 
already become integrated into Kayapo political thought, action, and 
maneuver, not only in confrontations with Brazilians, but in their own 
internal political processes and crises. It also brings out forcefully how a 
project that hopes to document the formation of social and cultural con- 
sciousness, recognizing that it must at the same time become a catalytic 
factor in the process it hopes to record, must expect to become enmeshed in 
the political aspects of that process. 

In the same telephone call in which I talked with Mokuka, I was also able 
to speak with Kinhiabieti, who had accompanied Mokuka to Sao Paulo from 
his home community of Mentuktire, where Mokuka had been planning the 
forthcoming A'ukre meeting with chief Rop ni. Kinhiabieti had shown 
Carelli and me two hours of rushes of a long, detailed, and beautifully shot 
video of the anteater mask ceremony at CTI in July. He had intended to 
complete the videotaping of the ceremony in Mentuktire in late August, for 
editing at CTI when I returned in January. Unfortunately, however, his 
house had bumed down, with his tapes of the earlier part of the ceremony, 
before the end of the rite was held. The video camera and most of the blank 
tapes were saved, and he is presently working on another ceremony and a 
series of political statements by chiefs about the political conflict between 
Rop ni and Pombo and other current Kayapo political issues. He will edit 
this material at CTI in January. 

He or his colleague Waiwai also plan to go to the site of the recent 
invasion of the Waura tribal area of the Xingu National Park by a group of 
armed ranchers. The ranchers burnt a Waura village to the ground and are 
threatening to establish a ranch in its place. The Mentuktire have offered to 
send a group of armed men to aid in the defense of the Waura and plan to 
send a video cameraman along to record the conflict and the deeds of their 
expeditionary force if they actually go. Their plan for the expedition thus 




provides yet another example of the way the Kayapo have integrated video 
into their political confrontations with the national society. 

One of my main anthropological reasons for launching the video project 
was to study the Kayapo approach to editing their own video material. 
Kinhiabieti 's editing of his two lots of video rushes on the men's and 
women's naming ceremonies from Mentuktire gave me my first opportu- 
nity to observe a Kayapo editor in action. I had surmised that the Kayapo 
might be guided in editing videos of their own culture by the same cultural 
schemas that guided the performance of the cultural activities in question. 
Kinhiabieti 's ceremonial material provided an opportunity to test this 
hypothesis. 

Kinhiabieti 's editing of the two ceremonial videos fully bore out my 
expectations. The ceremonies in question were long and complex, involv- 
ing some two months of continual ritual activity. This activity is organized 
in repetitive sequences of singing and dancing, in which the same dances, 
accompanied by the same songs, are performed in the same order but in a 
series of different places, beginning at a secluded site in the forest far from 
the village and then moving through several intervening sites to end with the 
climactic celebrations in the central village plaza. In the earlier perform- 
ances, only a few decorations made from palm leaves are worn, but in the 
final dances in the village plaza, the full panoply of feather capes, head- 
dresses, and other special ornaments are worn. In editing his tapes of these 
sequences, Kinhiabieti meticulously included bits of every dance per- 
formed at every site that he had on tape, in the same order in which they 
occurred. Repetition was not only not avoided but emphasized. The aim was 
to make a full and faithful representation of the entire ritual performance, 
and to show that the ceremony had been fully and properly performed. 

The schema of the ceremonial performance, in other words, was applied 
reflexively as the schema guiding the editing of its video representation. 
Nonrepetitive elements, for example special rites, activities, or ornaments 
performed or worn at specific points in the ritual by persons who receive the 
right to do so from a relative, were also scrupulously shown. No significant 
particularity, in Kayapo terms, was omitted. There was. in sum. no editorial 
selection or emphasis of some segments or aspects of the scripted order of 
the ceremony at the expense of others. One result of this was that, follow ing 
the editing cut-by-cut against my shot record of the rushes. 1 learned a great 
deal about the naming ceremonies that I had not known before, although I 
had seen them both performed. To judge by these videos, the Kayapo are 
excellent and assiduous ethnographers of themselves, which is exacth w hat 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 39 



Profits from the gold mine are used to buy 

equipment that will help preserve Kayapo culture 

and land. This includes an airplane, which they use 

to scout for illegal ranchers, timber cutters, and 

squatters, and video cameras, used to document 

Kayapo culture, meetings, and events. 

Courtesy Granada Television Ltd. 



The Kayapo community organizer Payakan contacts 

by radio the Indian villages that would be affected 

by the Altamira dam and begins planning a 

massive protest. If s here that the Kayapo effectively 

use the news media to bring their message to the 

world and turn the tide against the dam. 

Courtesy Granada Television Ltd. 




they set out to be in their approach to video self-documentation. 

These first Kayapo-edited videos were made for Kayapo viewers: there 
is no attempt at voiceover, narration, or commentary, let alone translation, 
subtitles, credits, or written title or logo. Some of the videos to be edited in 
January, however, such as the Gorotire video on environmental problems 
and community development projects, will be made primarily for the 
purpose of presenting Kayapo reality to non-Kayapo audiences, and will 
require most of these standard accessories of conventional documentary 
film and video. It is envisioned that at least some of the videos made by the 
Kayapo for internal use in their own cultural self-documentation will be 
dubbed with explanatory narrative and subtitled to allow them to be 
circulated for viewing by non-Kayapo audiences. The arrangements for 
distribution remain to be worked out with the Kayapo. Presumably, it will 
be coordinated through the Kayapo Video Archive. Meanwhile, interest in 
the Kayapo videos seems already to be building in the international 
documentary video and film community. By special arrangement, the two 
videos of the naming ceremonies were shown at the Festival of New Cinema 
in Montreal in October, which devoted its program this year to film and 
video of and by indigenous peoples. Copies have also been acquired by the 
Visual Media Department of the Museum of the American Indian of New 
York. 

The diversity of subjects represented by the videos to be edited in January 
should bring out an interesting variety of conceptual strategies and cultural 
assumptions on the part of their Kayapo editors. Internal Kayapo political 
factionalism, community economic projects, and political and environ- 
mental conflicts with the national society will not be able to be dealt with 
by the same cultural schemas as Kayapo ceremonies; the extent to which 




Kayapo editors will resort to similar reflexive representational strategies 
remains to be seen. The construction of video representations of cultural and 
political subjects has become for the Kayapo an important channel for 
formulating new or altered ideological schemas for interpreting and acting 
upon them. 

■ End notes 

The writing of this article has been made possible in part by generous 
support from the Spencer Foundation and the Center for Latin American 
Studies at Cornell University. I have benefited greatly from discussions of 
the ideas presented in the paper with Faye Ginsburg, Paul Henley, Fred 
Myers, and critical audiences at showings and discussions of my Kayapo 
films at the Margaret Mead Festival (1988 and 1989), the Festival of Native 
American Film (1989), the University of Chicago (1988 and 1989), New 
York University (1988 and 1989), and Amazon Week, New York, 1990. 

References cited 

Turner, Terence 

1987 Disappearing World: The Kayapo, film, 52 min. M. Beckham, director, T. 
Turner, anthropological consultant. Granada Television Ltd. 

1 989a The Kayapo: Out of the Forest, film, 52 min. M. Beckham, director, T. Turner, 
anthropological consultant, Granada Television Ltd. 

1 989b "The Kayapo: Out of the Forest," Three Films from the Series, Disappearing 
World, Granada Television Ltd. 

1989c "Kayapo Plan Meeting to Discuss Dams," Cultural Sun'ival Quarterly, Vol. 
13, No. 1. 

1989d "Five Days in Altamira: Kayapo Indians Organize Protest against Proposed 
Hydroelectric Dams," Kayapo Support Group Newsletter, No. 1. 

n.d. 1 "The Role of Indigenous Peoples in the Environmental Crisis: The Example of 
the Kayapo of the Brazilian Amazon," to appear in New Perspectives in Biology and 
Medicine. 

n.d. 2 "Culture and the Making of History: The Kayapo from Pacification to 
Altamira," to appear in Anthropology and History. 

n.d. 3 "Cosmology, Ideology, and the Historical Transformation of Kayapo Social 
Consciousness," submitted to Annuario Anthropologico, Sao Paulo. 

Terence Turner is a professor in the Department of Anthropology, University 
of Chicago, and at the Latin American Studies Center, Cornell University. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



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RICK FEIST AND MECHTILD SCHMIDT 



This article is eighth in a series written by staff 
members of the Standby Program, a nonprofit 
video access and education program dedicated to 
providing artists and independent producers with 
sophisticated video services they can afford. 
Standby s technicians are artists themselves and 
therefore offer vital understanding and sympa- 
thetic collaboration. Since 1983, works made 
possible by Standby have been broadcast on the 
Public Broadcasting Service, as well as European 
and Japanese television, and have been exhibited 
in museums and galleries worldwide. The infor- 
mation presented here and in future articles should 
help you make appropriate technical decisions to 
suit your aesthetic and budgetary needs. 

The previous chapters of this editing guide 



reviewed video recording formats, time code, off- 
line editing, switchers, digital video effects, and 
titling methods. 

The digital paint box suggests sinister image 
manipulation, undermining the faith of those who 
believe in the camera's objectivity. The buildings 
of the New York skyline can be rearranged seam- 
lessly, the red luxury car driving down the road 
may well be blue, or the CEO's wart can be 
removed without resorting to surgery. To the 
realist, such legerdemain is only slightly less 
disturbing than genetic engineering. 

Behind the myths, however, is a basic technol- 
ogy that has established itself not only in film and 
television but in architecture, photography, and 
mechanical engineering — to name a few applica- 
tions. The suspicion of artifice overshadows the 
creative potentials introduced by this technology. 
When considering the ethics of image manipula- 



tion via the paint box, we might well ask if we 
expect painting — the traditional kind — to pro- 
duce an objective representation of the world. 

♦ PAINT BOX ♦ 

Paint Box is a trade name for the machine first 
manufactured in the early 1980s by the Quantel 
Corporation. Though the Paint Box is still the 
industry standard, dozens of painting systems 
have appeared since. Digital F/X or Symbolics are 
the devices of choice for some broadcast studios. 
Certain character generators (Chyron, Vidifont, 
etc.) have optional paint programs, although their 
capabilities are rudimentary. 

Nonbroadcast painting programs can be found 
inallmajormicrocomputersystems:e.g.,Macpaint 
(Macintosh), Deluxe Paint (Amiga), PC Paint 
(PC). More sophisticated microcomputer systems, 
such as Lumena or Tips, require the installation of 
a Targa or Vista board which serves as the video 




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All photos courtesy Rick Feist and Mechtild Schmidt 



42 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



interface. Beware of outlandish claims made by 
the manufacturers of small systems. The video 
output may not be up to standard. 

Paint systems usually emulate traditional paint- 
ing media. The operator uses a stylus (an elec- 
tronic pen) and a tablet (a block with a flat surface 
sensitive to the stylus). Cheaper systems use a 
mouse. The stylus is the brush. Drawing with the 
stylus produces a corresponding drawing on the 
screen. The stylus used for the Paint Box tablet is 
pressure sensitive. The harder one pushes down, 
the thicker the application. 

A stroke to any edge of the tablet overlays the 
image with a menu system that mimics a painter's 
palette (figure 1). The palette allows selection 
from an array of colors (the painter's pots). A 
color may be applied directly or mixed with others 
to create new colors. A color for the brush may 
even be selected from the image onscreen, and 
placed onto the palette. 

Associated with the palette is a menu of options 
to determine the characteristics of the brush (fig- 
ure 2). Brushes can be selected in various sizes, 
often as small as a single pixel. Most systems 
allow enlargements of two and four times the size 
of the image to permit fine work on details. 
Brushes imitate oil paint, watercolor, airbrush, 
crayon, and chalk, though the appearance on- 
screen is often more associative than actual. Some 
systems offer a variety of brush shapes (circular, 
square, diamond shape, etc.). Most systems pro- 



vide point to point line connection. Rather than 
relying on the steadiness of the human hand, 
straight lines are created by defining two end- 
points. 

Another menu offers stencil capabilities (fig- 
ure 3). A stencil may be drawn by hand or pro- 
duced using geometric shapes (circle, square, 
etc.). Tracing the outline of an object produces a 
stencil. The object can then be moved or copied as 
a paste-up, even superimposed on another image 
(Figure 4). A stencil actually utilizes a black and 
white matte (hi-con) to key the paste-up over the 
background. The key edges of the matte can be 
softened to produce a smoother superimposition. 

The Paint Box was designed for artists, not 
computer programmers. The most mathematical 
function is grid settings along the X and Y axes 
used to position paste-ups or align elements. The 
Paint Box also has a limited titling capacity, with 
a small number of built-in fonts that can be en- 
larged, reduced, or condensed. Though the type is 
of higher resolution than most character genera- 
tors, special effects like credit rolls or crawls are 
not possible [see "In Focus," The Independent, 
October 1990, on titling systems]. 

♦ COMPUTER PAINTING ♦ 

A computer painting system holds a single image 
in a frame buffer. The frame buffer actually con- 
tains a series of numerical values that represent 
the amount of red, green, and blue (RGB) for each 





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pixel, or point, of the image. By means of a 
decoder, a standard (analog) video signal can be 
created from these points. A video signal can also 
be fed into the frame buffer of a paint system: an 
encoder samples the signal to derive the numeri- 
cal RGB values with which the buffer operates 
[see "In Focus," The Independent, May 1990, on 
digital video]. 

The quality of a paint system depends on sev- 
eral factors. The resolution (sharpness of line) 
depends on the number of pixels per line utilized 
by the paint system. The number of colors a 
system is capable of reproducing will determine 
how natural the image appears. Inexpensive sys- 
tems are only capable of 4,096 colors (16 bit 
processors) or less, while professional (32 bit 
systems) yield over 16 million different colors. 

The sophistication of the painting software to 
correct artifacts is also significant. Curves and 
diagonal lines may look jagged, defined in a stair- 
step fashion. In technical jargon, this is known as 
aliasing. A professional system will blend the 
contrasting color and brightness levels on either 
side of the line to create a more uniform appear- 
ance (figure 5). 

The time it takes for a computer graphics sys- 
tem to load a single frame into the frame buffer 
depends on the complexity of the image and the 
speed at which the CPU (central processing unit) 
operates. The Paint Box is a "real-time" (30fps) 
system, capturing a frame of moving video faster 
than one-thirtieth of a second (the duration of one 
video frame). The time that microcomputer sys- 
tems require to load an image is measured in 
seconds, or even in minutes. 

Images are stored in a library (figures 6 & 7), 
which is simply a directory of files. Each image 
requires its own file and is accessed by name. A 
paint system requires a lot of memory, both inter- 
nal RAM and long term storage (floppy disk, hard 
disk, etc.). One megabyte (1 million bytes) is the 
storage space allotted for an image in the Paint 
Box. Internal to the Paint Box is a hard disk, 
which will store about 330 images. 

Images copied to analog videotape ("lay-off) 
deteriorate markedly. Quality loss is particularly 
evident on fine lines. When reloaded into a paint 
system, such images may require hours of touch- 
ing up to restore sharpness. If even one-inch tape 
is inadequate, you can imagine the crud that 
results from the U-matic (3/4") format. Use 8mm 
and VHS at your own risk. 

Broadcast quality paint systems store imagery 
as digital RGB values onto cartridges, hard disks 
(Winchester drives), or Dl digital videotapes. 
Thus stored, the digital information can be re- 
loaded without quality loss. When binary Is and 
0s are copied as a computer file, they are not 
subject to noise and the various amplifier and time 
base distortions that affect analog recordings. 

♦ MEETING HARRY ♦ 

The Harry is a companion piece for the Paint Box. 
It is a digital disk system that can store up to 75 



seconds of NTSC video images (2,250 frames). 
Harry also acts as an editor. Three columns of 
images imitate film strips, allowing for mixing, 
matching, cutting, and keying of "clips," or se- 
quences of images (figure 8). When attached, 
Harry can be accessed directly through the Paint 
Box menus, to "buy" and "sell" (transfer) imagery 
between the two machines. 

Harry also has a number of automated func- 
tions that would require hours of extra time with 
a Paint Box alone. Before Harry, animations were 
made by the slow process of recording frame by 
frame on videotape. Harry works in "real time," 
except when performing the most complex image 
mixes. Harry can easily produce slow or fast 
motion by interpolating orremoving frames. Harry 
will do dissolves and keys between two clips to 
create a new, combined clip. 

When images are mixed digitally, copies do 
not lose quality over generations. The Paint Box 
and Harry interface with the so-called 4:2:2 
component digital format. The numbers refer to 
the ratio of the frequency of the digital samples to 
the 3.58mhz subcarrier frequency. The luminance 
(black and white values) is sampled at 13.5 mil- 
lion times per second. The I and Q color difference 
signals are sampled 6.75 million times per second. 
Digital video effects devices that utilize this for- 
mat can be used directly with the Paint Box/Harry. 
The Encore and more capable Kaleidoscope are 
commonly available in Harry suites. 

The Harry does luminance keys and can utilize 
a matte signal [see "In Focus," The Independent, 
March 1990, on keying]. A good chroma key is 
possible, but only with RGB signals that have 
never been encoded (i.e., recorded on a standard 
VTR in NTSC). Video that cannot be cleanly 
separated by chroma or luminance keys must be 
painstakingly matted with the Paint Box. Roto- 
scoping is a process by which an individual item 
is separated from a moving scene (a car, a person, 
and so on) to create a travelling matte. An outline 
stencil of the shape must be drawn for each single 
frame of the scene. At an average of five minutes 
per frame, a two-second scene of video will re- 
quire five hours of rotoscoping. 

As with other first generation digital machines 
(Abekas A62), Harry can add only one layer of 
video at a time. The building of layers must begin 
with the background. Subsequent layers are added 
sequentially on top of one another. This can be a 
constraint if you haven't planned your keying 
priorities — which layers are to be laid on top of 
others. Changing an earlier layer may mean start- 
ing from scratch. Even if each pass is saved on 
digital tape (a time-consuming process, in itself). 
all the work done since the layer to be changed 
must be redone. 

The Harry uses time code to determine where 
to begin input (loading imagery in) or output 
(playing imagery out). Moving video may be 
input from standard NTSC signals ( VTRs or color 
cameras), from RGB or component signals, or 
from the 4:2:2 digital format, which works best. 



44 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



Harry clips are likewise best saved on the Dl 
digital video format (Dl uses the 4:2:2 format). 
Quantel offers a clip management option that 
automatically outputs sequences from Harry to 
tape and loads them back into Harry when resum- 
ing work. Another option is Harry Tracks, which 
provides stereo digital audio capabilities. A Harry 
not so equipped is only capable of recording a low 
fidelity scratch track. 

♦ THE THIRD DIMENSION ♦ 

The Paint Box is considered a 2D system. When 
a Paint Box image is rotated, the objects have no 
volume but appear as flat as a drawing on paper. 
3D animations are programmed on machines with 
names like Vertigo, Wavefront, Alias, Symbol- 
ics, or Cubicomp. Most are Unix-based systems. 
They are generally operated in the manner of 
CAD/CAM systems, beginning with wireframe 
objects created with points on an XYZ coordinate 
system (figure 9). For orientation, the object is 
viewed from different angles: front, back, above, 
below, etc. Some machines allow the object to be 
seen from as many as four angles simultaneously. 

Producing a 3D animation is like working in an 
artificial studio, allowing one to set up objects, 
cameras, and lights. First the contours, volume, 
and surface characteristics of each object are 
stipulated. Then these are modified in position, 
shape, color, camera angle, etc. along a series of 
keyframes to create an animation. At this stage, 
the animation can only be seen as a wireframe or 
as schematic objects. Rendering is the process by 
which the computer calculates and saves the full 
resolution frame; even powerful computers may 
require up to 30 minutes to render a complex 
frame. Contrary to the common association that 
video is immediate, 3D animations are often ren- 
dered overnight and seen for the first time in the 
morning. 

3D features once available only on large sys- 
tems are now found in systems for PC and Mac 
computers. Still, image quality and speed are 
measured in dollars. From multimedia desktop 
systems to broadcast postproduction, real time 
digital storage and playback are superseding tra- 
ditional analog storage methods. At the low end, 
data compression techniques allow real time 
moving video on microcomputers, albeit with low 
resolution. At the other end, an HDTV (high 
definition television) version of the Paint Box 
now used by print media is capable of 8000 lines 
of resolution (compared to NTSC video's 525). 
Photographs are not only retouched; composite 
photographs are made from several original pho- 
tographs. Even a trained eye may fail to notice. 
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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 45 



LEGAL BRIEFS 



NOW A WORD ABOUT 

A Guide T© 




SPONSOR 

greements 



ROBERT L. SEIGEL 



Film- and videomakers know that the term inde- 
pendent is a misnomer, since they are frequently 
dependent on many people — investors (usually 
friends, relatives, or acquaintances), crew and 
cast from film school or other productions who 
also are seeking to get their feet in the door, as well 
as others who can provide moral and/or financial 
support. One important component in this respect 
are the nonprofit service organizations that pro- 
vide financial and creative support to independent 
artists, frequently at the development or "seed 
money" stage — often the most difficult funds to 
acquire for a project. Such organizations are re- 
ferred to as sponsors, umbrella organizations, 
conduits, or fiscal agents. 

Although these terms are used interchange- 
ably, film/videomakers would be wise to have any 
sponsoring group define exactly what they are and 
what services they offer. Artists applying for 
certain grants from government agencies will 
require an alliance with a nonprofit organization, 
since such funds are not available to individual 
artists but to those who work under the auspices of 



a sponsor serving as an intermediary between the 
financial source and the producer. 

One of the primary benefits for a film/video- 
maker in entering into an agreement with a not- 
for-profit sponsor is that any private contribution 
or donation made to the artist through the sponsor 
is tax deductible for the funder, since the sponsor 
is a tax-exempt organization under Section 
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Besides 
grant-making organizations, individual private 
donors can take advantage of a 501(c)(3) deduc- 
tion for tax purposes since nonprofit organiza- 
tions of this type are regarded as "charitable" or 
"public supported" organizations — a true selling 
point for film/videomakers in the seemingly per- 
petual quest for project money. 

In addition to the tax advantages and the neces- 
sity of a film/videomaker having a sponsor before 
applying for public funds, such a relationship 
. between the parties indicates to prospective fund- 
ers that a third party has reviewed the project and 
found merit in it. Therefore, it is important when 
approaching a prospective sponsor to have a 
business plan that outlines the project, its objec- 
tives, the possible methods for funding it, and who 
is responsible and involved in its development, 
production, distribution, and exhibition. 



The film/videomaker should clearly state the 
nature of the project (i.e., short, feature; fiction or 
documentary; film or videotape) so that both 
parties — producer and sponsor — can determine 
whether the project fits within the parameters of 
the sponsor's mandate and that it is not a project 
primarily intended as a profit-making venture. 
Such guidelines vary from one group to the next. 
Moreover, some sponsors accept only certain 
types of projects, and it will benefit the film/ 
videomaker to know of these restrictions (e.g., a 
project must originate from a certain state, have a 
producer from a given area, or address particular 
issues and interests). Sponsors will look favorably 
upon a business plan that addresses these consid- 
erations, since their credibility is dependent upon 
the projects they sponsor. Additionally, fiscal 
agents must exercise caution selecting projects, 
since tax authorities and other governmental bodies 
regard any income or losses derived from a project 
as the sponsor's responsibility, for tax purposes. 

Sponsors can also provide services other than 
the use of their 501(c)(3) status, including bulk 
mailing privileges and a state tax exemption. One 
caveat: a state sales tax exemption is not a license 
to have a personal life that is tax free. Some film/ 
videomakers or their crews have used this benefit 



NONPROFIT SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS IN NEW YORK 




organization 


# of proj. 
sponsored 
in 1990 
(approx.) 


agencies 
applied to 


# of proj. 
funded 
in 1990 
(approx.) 


percent of grants 
used for sponsor's 
administrative costs 


sevices 
provided 
by sponsor 


types of 
projects 
sponsored 


conditions 
imposed 
on projects 


Apparatus 
Productions 


10 


NYSCA, NEA, 
Paul Robeson Fund 


5 


6% 


advice at each stage of 
production 


experimental narrative 


none 


Collective for 
Living Cinema 


10-15 


NYSCA 


6 


5% 


administer grant, 
production advice 


projects challenging 
formal constructions/ 
uses of film and video 


none 


Film News 
Now Foundation 


30 


NYSCA, NYCH, NEH, 
Paul Robeson Fund, 
CPB, AFI 


15 


5% 


consultations from pre- to 
postproduction, budget 
preparation, referrals, crews 


Third World issues, 
women's media, 
minorities 


none 


Icarus 


7-8 


NYSCA 


uncon- 
firmed 


5% 


monthly statements, advice 
on contracts, studio services 


environmental, 
education 


none 


Media Network 


40-50 


NYSCA, FIVF, Paul Robeson 
Fund, J. Robert MacArthur 
Foundation, NYCH 


uncon- 
firmed 


5-7% 


bookkeeping, fundraising 


social change 


none 


Millennium Film 
Workshop 


5-7 


NYSCA 


1-2 


3-5% 


equipment access, office space, 
editing facilities, screenings 
opportunities, advice 


all 


none 


New York 
Foundation 
for the Arts 


300 


NYSCA, NEA, NEH 


80 


7% for first $150,000, 
3% for $400,000, 
$1 -million negotiable 


information on key deadlines, 
review proposals, scripts, sample 
reels, adviceon funding/distribution/ 
promotion, support all their projects 
at the Independent Feature Market 


all 


none 


Women Make 
Movies 


30-35 


NYSCA, NEA, NEH 


10-15 


5% 


proposal writing, fundraising, 
interns, resources, skills bank, files, 
screening facilities 


women, 
social issues 


producer must 
be female 


* This chart represents a survey of New York City organizations that act as fiscal sponsors. It is not intened to be a comprehensive guide. 



46 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



to avoid paying sales tax on daily meals and even 
their laundry. Such abuses can lead to the deterio- 
ration of an artist ' s relationship with a sponsor and 
can place the sponsor under scrutiny by the state 
and federal tax authorities. 

Similarly, sponsors can provide film/video- 
makers with such services as the use of a com- 
puter, office equipment, and space. A few spon- 
sors offer insurance coverage in connection with 
their productions, but most do not, although they 
may assist the artists in obtaining coverage through 
their contacts. Sponsorees may also be permitted 
to use a sponsor's account in order to obtain such 
goods and services as lab work and equipment. 
However, many vendors will not permit a pro- 
ducer to open an account in his or her own name 
or in the sponsor's name — even if the latter al- 
ready has an account — without the sponsor's 
express consent, often given in writing. Some- 
times use of an organization's account will be 
allowed on the condition that the sponsoree has a 
certain amount of funds in her or his own account. 

All of the above stated services should be listed 
in detail in any agreement between the parties. As 
compensation for these services and to defray 
expenses, sponsors generally deduct an adminis- 
trative fee of approximately five to 10 percent 
from any grant or contribution channeled through 
the organization prior to the allocation of such 
funds to the producer. Although many fiscal agents 
request an administrative fee of approximately 
five percent from government grants and seven 
percent from all other funds allocated to the spon- 
sored project, others will deduct slightly more 
than five percent as an administrative fee from all 
monies derived during the period of the sponsor- 
ship agreement. However, such a fee can be rolled 
back to five percent for funds received in excess of 
a certain figure (e.g., over $100,000). Sponsors 
will often agree to deduct a lower administrative 
fee from government grants which stipulate a 
maximum administrative fee. However, a film/ 
videomaker should discuss whether the sponsor 
will accept a lower administrative fee when gov- 
ernment grants are involved. 

A sponsor will request periodic and final status 
reports concerning the development and the fiscal 
status of the producer's project — -a review of a 
project's records and receipts. Any agreement 
between the parties should detail the requirements 
of such reports as well as how often such reports 
should be submitted and/or the reporting require- 
ments for any particular funding sources. 

One particular point that should be addressed 
by the parties and acknowledged in any agree- 
ment concerns interest from funds deposited in an 
account designated for the project. Sponsors may 
want the interest from such funds to defray the 
costs of service charges imposed by a bank. The 
sponsorship agreement should also clearly indi- 
cate how the funds are to be collected and dis- 
persed by the sponsor (e.g., funds placed in a 
clearly identified account or listed in the spon- 
sor's books, whether each project has a separate 
account or the funds for several are placed in a 
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THE INDEPENDENT 47 



given account, and so on). A schedule reflecting 
the timing and manner of the collection and the 
dispersal of funds to the producer should also be 
spelled out. And the agreement should designate 
the time period in which funds should be remitted 
to a project after an administrative fee is deducted 
by the sponsor (e.g., within 10 days of clearance 
of such funds in the sponsor's bank account). 

To avoid the payment of unemployment bene- 
fits, worker's compensation, and disability pay- 
ments for the crew and cast of a sponsored project, 
the fiscal agent usually insists that the film/video- 
maker agree to assume such obligations. In some 
sponsorship agreements there is a provision in 
which the sponsor requires the producer to secure 
standard film production liability insurance of a 
certain amount (e.g., $1,000,000) to cover any 
property or equipment damage, bodily injuries, 
or death incurred during the production as well 
as to absolve or indemnify the sponsor from any 
liability. 

On the creative side, most sponsors agree that 
all rights to a film/video project as well as its 
material ownership (i.e., video master or film 
negative) should be retained by the producer, 
however, prudence dictates that this provision be 
included in the sponsorship agreement. More- 
over, most such agreements acknowledge that the 
sponsoree shall have control over a project's 
production, marketing, distribution, promotion, 
and exhibition, although several organizations 



offer consulting services in such business and 
marketing areas as part of their services. 

A crucial point that a film/videomaker should 
know is that a sponsor is generally not an investor 
or a broker who will locate potential funding 
sources, although many sponsors may provide 
advice and possible contacts for such funders. 
Almost all sponsorship agreements have a provi- 
sion in which sponsors and/or donors receive on- 
screen credit for services rendered, as well as 
credit in all promotional and advertising materi- 
als. Although such a provision is standard, the 
appropriate credit should be addressed by the 
parties before entering into agreement and stated 
explicitly in such a document. 

For the purpose of protection against any per- 
son or organization that may claim to be a quali- 
fied, nonprofit corporation a producer should 
request a copy of the organization's Form 990 
(Return of Organization Exemption from Income 
Tax, which indicates that the sponsor is a federally 
recognized, tax exempt organization) and Form 
872-C (Consent Fixing Period of Limitation upon 
Assessment of Tax under Section 4940 of the 
Internal Revenue Code). Since the execution of 
such forms is contingent upon an organization 
receiving a letter of determination from the Inter- 
nal Revenue Service (acknowledging that the 
sponsor's plan and potential activities have been 
examined by the Internal Revenue Service, which 
has determined that the sponsor is eligible for 



federal tax-exemption), a potential sponsoree may 
also request a copy of such a letter. 

Some final points: Be sure to clarify the rights 
and obligations of both parties in the agreement. 
Some sponsors offer a range of services which can 
include fiscal and/or administrative services, fis- 
cal and creative consultation, and, sometimes, 
coproduction arrangements. Film/videomakers 
should be certain what a sponsor seeks, not only in 
terms of administrative fees but also whether they 
will assert the right to place the completed project 
in their archive or exhibit the project in a festival 
or series of screenings arranged by the sponsor. 
These provisions might either help or hinder the 
economic incentives for a distributor to acquire 
the rights to a project. 

Finally, the producer must retain all receipts 
for goods and services acquired in connection 
with the project. Accurate record-keeping is a 
cornerstone to any sponsor-sponsoree relation- 
ship, since prudent practices establish the fiscal 
credibility of a film/videomaker for this and fu- 
ture projects. Should any issue arise among the 
parties, which include funders as well as the 
producer and fiscal agents, thorough records are 
especially important. 

Robert L. Seigel is an attorney who is currently in 
private practice in New York City in the areas of 
intellectual property and entertainment law. 



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48 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



RENEE TAJIMA 



Nebraska videomaker Konrad Pregowski has 
completed A Time in the Life of Israel Szapiro, 
#129564, the story of a Nazi death camp survivor. 
In the half-hour documentary, Szapiro, aka Irving 
Shapiro, describes life in the small Jewish town of 
Miedzyrzec, Poland, which was annihilated by 
Nazi occupiers. Shapiro's parents, Mala and Her- 
shel Szapiro, were taken to the Treblinka death 
camp where they were killed. Shapiro and his 
younger brother, Alexander, ended up in another 
extermination camp, Majdanek, where Alexander 
eventually disappeared but Israel survived. A Time 
in the Life was funded in part by the Nebraska 
Committee for the Humanities and has been picked 
up for broadcast by the state's educational TV 
network. A Time in the Life of Israel Szapiro, 
#129564: Konrad Pregowski, Professional Video 
Services, 3 1 08 1 8th Ave. , Scottsbluff , NE 6936 1 ; 
(308) 635-3606. 

Boston-based filmmaker Lisa Faircloth is now 
in postproduction with En Route, the tragic story 
of Dennis Fagan. At 26, Fagan is an optimist with 
a heart of gold and many one-liners. He is blessed — 
or perhaps cursed — with dreams that tend to 
become premonitions. Faircloth's 80-minute first 
feature follows protagonist Fagan on a fated trip 
through Canada en route to a cannery job in 
Alaska. In a North Ontario town, a girl named 
Fran joins Fagan on his quest for a new life, but her 
family pursues them and their plans are thwarted. 
En Route was shot last year in Boston and Canada, 
with a budget of about $26,000. Faircloth wrote, 
directed, produced, and edited the film. En Route: 
Rough Road Productions, 47A N. Margin St., 
Boston, MA 021 13; (617) 367-6494. 

Carnival in Q'eros Where the Mountains 
Meet the Jungle, is the fourteenth work by 
filmmaker John Cohen. Shot high in the Peruvian 
Andes, within a remote community of Quechua 
Indians, the film documents an isolated, distant, 
secretive, self-protective, and toughened people. 
Referring to themselves as Incas, the people of 
Q'eros observe many indigenous ritual practices 
but remain a part of the contemporary world 
economy of bank loans and interest payments. 
Various anthropologists have studied the Q'eros 
before, but none have witnessed their carnival, 
which Cohen's 32-minute film documents. Co- 
hen first visited the Q'eros in 1954, and he tried 
filming the carnival in 1984 but was stoned and 
beaten. Finally, along with the Peruvian anthro- 
pologist Juan Nunez del Prado, Cohen was able to 
record the event. Carnival in Q'eros Where the 
Mountains Meet the Jungle: John Cohen, Tomp- 
kins Corners, Putnam Valley, NY 10579. 

Refugees in Our Backyard is Georges Nahit- 
chevansky and Helena Pollack Sultan's new 
documentary on the displacement and migration 
of Central Americans to the United States. Nar- 
rated by Sigoumey Weaver, the 58-minute film 




examines the political and economic turmoil that 
has devastated Central America and led to the 
migration of over 1 5 percent of the region ' s popu- 
lation. Against this backdrop of unrest, filmmakers 
Nahitchevansky and Sultan follow the hazardous 
journey of people northward to the US. They 
examine the debates and controversies surround- 
ing the arrival of Central Americans and explore 
the attempts to survive here. Refugees in Our 
Backyard: First Run/Icarus Films, 153 Waverly 
PI., New York, NY 10014; (212) 243-0600. 



Black Water, a new film by Charlotte Cerf and 
Allen Moore, documents the case of the village of 
Sao Braz, a traditional fishing village in Bahia, 
Brazil, where the quality of life has been threat- 
ened by water pollution in the fishing grounds. 
Black Water observes the unique relationship of 
the traditional culture to its environment and how 
people react when that way of life is disrupted. 
The 28-minute film was directed by Moore and is 
based on two years of anthropological fieldwork 
by Cerf. It has already earned an honorable men- 
tion from the American Anthropological Asso- 
ciation and an Estar Award from Earthwatch. The 
production of Black Water was funded by grants 
from the National Endowment for the Arts, Earth- 
watch, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the 
Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Asso- 
ciation. Black Water: Bahia Film Project, 108 
Fitzwater St., Philadelphia, PA; (215) 755-3756. 

While brushing her hair in the oppressive and 
still heat of an August afternoon, a woman, Eliza- 




Viewers of Daniel 
Reeves' The Well of 
Patience sit in a 
cyclorama, surrounded 
by video imagery, 
which Reeves has 
assembled as a 92- 
minute trilogy of 
videotapes. 

Courtesy videomaker 



One of the highlights of the Glasgow, Scotland, 
City of Culture celebration is The Well of Pa- 
tience, a video sculpture by artist Daniel Reeves. 
The installation, which was unveiled last June, 
invites the viewer to move around and into the 
center of a glowing cyclorama. Above and below 
are arrays of familiar objects and statues placed in 
spiral configurations. And standing in the center, 
above a slowly moving carousel, the spectator is 
surrounded by huge, moving imagery beamed 
onto curved screening material by a number of 
powerful video projectors. The effect was de- 
scribed by ArtNews as something akin to "being at 
the still point of the turning world." Many hours of 
material — gathered over a seven-year period from 
four continents — was edited down to three 91- 
minute videotapes exploring the dynamics of 
change and the impermanence of all things in the 
universe. The Well of Patience was created with 
support from public and private sources in Scot- 
land and is sponsored by American Airlines and 
George Gilmour Metals. The Well of Patience: 
Daniel Reeves, 763 Washington St., New York, 
NY 10014; (212) 989-2025. 



beth, slips in and out of consciousness. Images, 
usually confined by sleep, escape their bounds. 
Elizabeth 's thoughts and space are infringed upon. 
She is able to glimpse the possibility of the fulfill- 
ment of desire, but the implications of that fulfill- 
ment threaten her. Echolalia is a new experimen- 
tal film by Albert Gabriel Nigrin, inspired by the 
Rilke poem Sonnets to Orpheus II, 14. In the film, 
a woman is presented with an opportunity for 
flight, but the value of that opportunity is tem- 
pered with lessons learned from the myth of 
Icarus. The 13-minute work was coproduced by 
Nigrin and Dennis Benson, directed, shot and 
edited by Nigrin, and written by Benson. It was 
funded in part by a National Endowment for the 
Arts/American Film Institute MidAtlantic Re- 
gion Media Arts Fellowship. Echolalia: Light Far 
May See Films, 55 Louis St.. New Brunswick. NJ 
09801; (201) 249-9623. 

In an effort to help bridge the gap between 
organ donor and recipient in the African Ameri- 
can community, independent producer Bettina L. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 49 



TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT 

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Montez has completed Brother's Keepers, a new 

27-minute video. The tape, sponsored by the Bay 
Area Video Coalition, is intended as a resource 
tool for both health care providers and grassroots 
organizations to address this neglected and criti- 
cal concern in the United States. Principal photog- 
raphy for Brother's Keepers took place at the 
Howard University Transplant Center in Wash- 
ington, D.C., which treats the largest minority 
transplant population in the country and features 
the world-renowned authority Dr. Clive Calen- 
dar. Brothers Keepers: AM Videos, 1 Hallidie 
Plaza, Suite 701 , San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 
751-3268. 

Los Angeles-based filmmaker Robert Hanson 
has just completed principle photography on the 
film short Thank You Masked Man. First cre- 
ated as a stand-up routine by Lenny Bruce, this 
satire on the Lone Ranger was recorded on Fan- 
tasy Records in 1963 and eventually adapted by 
Bruce for a short, animated film. In the new film, 
Hanson uses actors to read the dialogue written by 
Bruce. It is a parody that emerges as a vehicle for 
Bruce 's social conscience, as the Masked Man 
pursues the good ole' boys of the Wild West and 
homophobes. Hanson first began work on the 
project several years ago while a student at Los 
Angeles City College's cinema department and 
hopes to complete it for festival screenings this 
winter. Thank You Masked Man: Robert Hanson, 
510 E. Santa Anita, #110, Burbank, CA 91501; 
(818)841-0028. 

The relationship between a woman's body 
image and her quest for the idealized female form 
is the theme in Mirror Mirror, a new documen- 
tary by Jan Krawitz. Women of varying ages, 
sizes, and ethnicities appear on screen — with their 
faces obscured by a white mask — and comment 
on their own bodies with humor, candor, and 
sometimes pain. Krawitz creates a tension be- 
tween these self-images and the ideal, as illus- 
trated by mannequins and in a 1 930s-era ne wsreel 
depicting a "perfect body parts" contest for women. 
Krawitz produced the 17-minute film with sup- 
port from the Paul Robeson Fund and Women's 
Project of the Funding Exchange, the Southwest 
Alternative Media Project, the Women in Film 
Foundation, and the Pioneer Fund. Mirror Mirror 
premiered this fall at the Margaret Mead Film 
Festival and Denver International Film Festival. 
Mirror Mirror: Women Make Movies, 225 Lafay- 
ette St., #212, New York, NY 10012; (212) 925- 
0606; fax: (212) 925-2052. 

A wacky wig store owner's brand new collec- 
tion turns the tranquil little town of Espergusto 
topsy-turvy in Cootie Garages, a new comedy by 
writer-director Marcy Hedy Lynn. Shot in "faux 
technicolor," the 54-minute film tells the story of 
Wella Delia Dondola (Jeanette Smith), a wig- 
maker whose newest customer. Miss Polly Wex- 
ler (Marie Antoinette), is magically transformed 
into characters both historical and hysterical each 
time she tries on a new wig. Two years in the 
making, Cootie Garages was awarded for Excel- 
lence in Art Direction and Cinematography at the 



50 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 




Wella (Jeanette 
Smith), surrounded by 
some of Polly's 
polymorphic 
personifications (all 
played by Marie 
Antoinette) in Cootie 
Garages, a new film 
by Marcy Hedy Lynn. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



New York University First Run Film Festival and 
screened last September at Anthology Film Ar- 
chives in New York. Cootie Garages: Whim 
Wham Productions, 5 1 E. 10th St., #8, New York, 
NY 10003; (212) 529-2885. 

A new women's collaborative has resulted in 
the production of We Care: A Video for Care- 
providers of People Affected by AIDS, pro- 
duced by the Women's AIDS Video Enterprise in 
conjunction with the Brooklyn AIDS Task Force. 
The tape represents the work of an innovative 
project that sought to empower low-income, 



minority women from Brooklyn to make their 
own video about the issues surrounding AIDS that 
are most important to them. As members of a 
model "video-support group," seven women met 
for six months with a social worker and a video- 
maker to discuss their needs as people affected by 
AIDS and to learn how to express these through 
video. WAVE is currently organizing screenings 
of We Care for various community organizations. 
We Care: WAVE; attn: Alexandra Juhasz, (212) 
477-4768; orGlenda Smith, Brooklyn AIDS Task 
Force, (718) 596-4781. 



Sanctus, a newly completed film by Barbara 
Hammer, uses media X-ray footage of moving 
images to create a film depicting the process of 
entering and passing through the human body. 
Hammeremploys archival footage originally shot 
by James Sibley Watson, who made the 1929 
experimental classic Fall of the House of Usher. 
The film's soundtrack, by Niel B. Rolnick, itself 
is a digital reconstruction of the sanctus section of 
the Mass as composed by Bach, Beethoven. 
Mozart, Merchant, and Byrd. The 16mm film, 
along with Hammer's videotape Dr. Watson' sX- 
Rays, premiered at the Collective for Living 
Cinema in New York last December. Sanctus: 
Barbara Hammer, 55 Bethune St., #1 14G, New 
York, NY 10014; (212) 645-9077. 

This fall, classrooms throughout the US and 
Canada viewed Wordscape, a new series of 16 
quarter-hour video programs for grades four 
through six. Designed to enrich children's vo- 
cabularies, the informative series was produced 
by Tulsa, Oklahoma-based film/videomaker 
Cathey Edwards. Taped in the Oklahoma City 
area, Wordscape relies on local talent and loca- 
tions to teach over 200 words in a variety of 
humorous scenes. Wordscape is a coproduction of 
the Agency for Instruction Technology and the 
Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. 
Wordscape: Cathey Edwards Productions, Box 
521 12, Tulsa, OK 74152-01 12; (918) 599-0910. 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 51 



FESTIVALS 



Domestic 

ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL, Mar. 1 9-24, MI. Now in 
29th yr, oldest 16mm fest in country is open to inde- 
pendent & experimental films that "demonstrate a high 
regard for film as creative medium." No formal cats. 
Last yr 273 films submitted & 72 shown. 3 person 
awards jury distributes $7000 in prize money, incl. Best 
of Fest ($ 1 500); $500 ea. to best documentary /animated/ 
experimental films; Tom Berman Award ($1250); 
Lawrence Kasdan Award ($500); Peter Wilde Award 
($500); Marvin Felheim Award ($500). Nat'l tour April 
through beginning of July consists of 4 hrs of winners & 
highlights of fest; rental fee paid to participating films. 
Entry fee: $25 ($30 foreign). Format: 16mm; pre- 
screening on film only. Deadline: Feb. 15. Contact: 
Vicki Honeyman, fest director, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 
Box 8232, Ann Arbor, MI 48107; (313) 995-5356. 

ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FEST- 
IVAL, June, NY. New film & video productions by 
established & emerging Asian & Asian American pro- 
ducers focus of this noncompetitive fest, now in 14th yr. 
Features & shorts accepted. Cats: experimental, doc, 
narrative, installations. Last yr featured 42 films, incl. 
several NYC & US premieres. Fest generally goes on 5 
mo. tour of N. America after opening. Format: 35mm, 
16mm; preview on cassette. Deadline: Mar. 1. Contact: 
Peter Chow, Asian American Int'l Film Festival, Asian 
Cine Vision, 32 E. Broadway, New York, NY 10002; 
(212) 925-8685; fax: (212) 925-8157. 

ATHENS INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FEST- 
IVAL, Apr. 26-May 4, OH. Prizes totalling $8000 
awarded by fest guest artist/judges to films/tapes selected 
as competition finalists by prescreening committees 
comprising film/videomakers & other artists know- 
ledgeable in ea. cat. Separate film & video competitions. 
Cats: narrative (traditional & experimental), doc 
(traditional & experimental), experimental, animation. 
Entry fees: $25-50, depending on length. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 8mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Feb. 12 (film); Mar. 
12 (video). Contact: Ruth Bradley, Athens International 
Film & Video Festival, Box 388, rm. 407, 175 W. Union 
St., Athens, OH 45701; (614) 593-1330. 

BLACK TALKIES ON PARADE FILM FESTIVAL, Apr. 
22-29, CA. Works of all genres by & abt African 
Americans shown in competitive fest held at LA's Four 
Star Theatre. Cash awards up to $3000. Sponsored by 
Black American Cinema Society. For info & appl., send 
legal size SASE. Formats: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: Mar. 
1 . Contact: Mayme A. Clayton, Black Talkies on Parade 
Film Festival, 3617 Montclair St., Los Angeles, CA 
90018; (213) 737-3292; fax: (213) 733-951 1. 

BOULDER INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
FILM FESTIVAL, Mar. 1 3- 1 7, CO. Sponsored by Denver 
Int'l Film Society, invitational, noncompetitive event 
debuts in 1991 w/ environmentally themed entries in 
film & video cats: shorts, docs, features, fictional 
narrative, experimental, animation. 30-50 films/videos 
to be shown. Fest also features World Congress of 
Environmental Media, panels & seminars examining 
various aspects of entertainment/environment link, 
compilation of raw environmental film/video footage & 
Green Schools program at local schools. Entries must be 
completed after Dec. 3 1 , 1 988 (foreign entries after Dec. 
3 1 , 1 985 if US premieres). No entry fee; producers cover 
roundtrip print shipping. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4". 
Deadline: Feb. 8. Contact: Denver Int'l Film Society, 
999 18th St., ste. 247, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 298- 
8223; fax: (303) 298-0209. 




This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Kathryn Bowser, director of the FIVF 
Festival Bureau. Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement. Since some details 
change faster than we do, we recommend 
that you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or tapes. 
In order to improve our reliability and 
make this column more beneficial to 
independents, we encourage all film-and 
videomakers to contact FIVF Festival 
Bureau with their personal festival 
experiences, positive and negative. 

CINCINNATI ARTISTS GROUP EFFORT WORKS BY 
WOMEN FILM FESTIVAL, Apr. 19, OH. All genres of 
films by women accepted for new competitive fest, 
especially work by new filmmakers. Entries should be 
under 20 min., completed after Jan. 1989. Rental fees 
paid. Format: 16mm. Deadline: Mar. 1. Contact: Ann 
Alter, exhibition coordinator. Box 5657, Athens. OH 
45701; for further info: Peter Allison, CAGE, 305 W. 
Fourth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; (513) 381-2437. 

HOMETOWN USA VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 25, OR. 
Sponsored by Nat'l Federation of Local Cable Program- 
mers (NFLCP), competitive fest, started in 1977, 
recognizes outstanding local programs produced for or 
by local origination & public, educational & govern- 
mental access operations. Awards made to productions 
that address community needs, develop diverse 
community participation in production process, challenge 
conventional commercial TV formats & move viewers 
to look at TV differently. Entrants should be media pros 
or community volunteers. Awards: 3 special awards for 
overall excellence in public access programming, local 
origination, institutional access; finalists, honorable 
mentions & winners in 32 cats. Cats incl. performing 
arts, ethnic expression, entertainment, sports, by & for 
youth, live, municipal, religious, educational, 
instructional/training, informational, innovative, 
international, by & for senior citizens, PSA, doc profile/ 
event/public awareness, video art, music video, local 
news, magazine format, original teleplay. Entries must 
be produced in previous yr. Fest receives 1800 entries 
from over 360 cities. Awards ceremony held during 
NFLCP annual convention in Portland, OR. Entry fees: 
$20-$50; incl. $5 postage for return shipping. Formats: 
3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 8. Contact: Sue Buske, c/o 
The Buske Group, 3 112 "O" St., ste. 1, Sacramento, C A 
95816; (916) 456-0776; fax: (916) 731-7242. 

HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO 
FESTIVAL. Apr. 19-28, TX. Estab. 1979, competitive 
fest has grown to event attracting over 3000 entries from 
43 countries, premiering over 100 features & 24 shorts, 
docs & experimental productions. Cats: feature, short, 
documentary, TV commercials, experimental/ 
independent, TV production, w/ over 150 subcats incl. 



animation, scripts, music TV, ecology, student, industrial. 
Awards: Gold Grand Award in ea. major cat; Gold 
Special Jury Award; Gold, Silver & Bronze Awards for 
subcats; $1000 to best student entry. This yr. fest 
established WorldFest Film & Video Market to run 
concurrently w/ fest, offering features, docs, shorts, 
video & TV shows to buyers & distributors. Also initiated 
works-in-progress section in market. Fest entry fee: 
$25-$100. Market entry fee: $200. Formats: 70mm, 
35mm, 16mm, super 8, 3/4", 1/2", Beta. Deadline: Mar. 
1 5 . Contact: J. HunterTodd, executive director, Houston 
Int'l Film & Video Festival, Box 56566, Houston, TX 
77250-6566; (713)965-9955;fax: (713)965-9960; telex: 
317 876 (WORLDFEST HOU). 

HUMBOLDT FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, April, CA. 
Oldest student run fest in US, open to contemporary 
work of personal vision by independents & students. 
Program incl. lectures, workshops & screenings. All 
genres accepted. Works must be completed w/in past 3 
yrs & not over 60 min. in length. $3000 in awards & 
prizes; special awards incl. young filmmaker (under 
18); social &/or environmental awareness; Salvador 
Dali Memorial Award for Best in SurrealistFfilm; Gale 
Anne Hurd Award for Best Woman Filmmaker. Entry 
fee: $25. Formats: 16mm, super 8, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: 
Mar. 5. Contact: Heather I. Denton, Humboldt Film & 
Video Festival, Dept. of Theatre Arts, Humboldt State 
Univ., Areata, CA 95521; (707) 826-4113. 

INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL, Apr. 
4-7, MT. Films & videos w/ major focus on any 
nondomesticated wildlife species eligible for 
competition, as well as productions concerned w/habitat 
or its destruction, conservation, ecology, research, plants, 
special art forms, or people's interaction in relation to 
wildlife species. Cats: agency/private group; 
independent; low-budget independent, music video; 
PSA; student/amateur; TV news feature; TV news spot; 
TV series episode; TV special; art/experimental; 
children's; hunting/fishing; human dimensions; 
indigenous people; wildlife habitat/environmental 
concerns. Great Bear Award for Best of Fest. Entries 
must be produced, completed, or released during 1990. 
Other fest activities incl. panel discussions, workshops, 
wildlife art displays, photo contest, speakers, field trips. 
Formats: 16mm,3/4", 1/2". Entryfee:$25-125. Deadline: 
Mar. 1. Contact: Charles Jonkel, Int'l Wildlife Film 
Festival. Box 9383, 280 E. Front, Missoula, MT 59807; 
(406) 728-9380; fax: (406) 543-6232. 

LOUISVILLE FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, Feb. 21- 
23, KY. Experimental & independent film & video 
accepted in cats of experimental, doc, animation, 
narrative & music video for 2nd annual edition. $2000 
in cash awards. Work must be completed after Jan. 1, 
1988. Special stipends available for women filmmakers 
living in KY. Sponsored by Artswatch, nonprofit 
Louisville-based contemporary arts organization. Entry 
fee: $25. Formats: 16mm, super 8, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: 
Jan. 24. Contact: Artswatch. 2337 Frankfort Ave., 
Louisville, KY 40206; (502) 893-9661. 

NEW JERSEY YOUNG FILM AND VIDEOMAKERS 
FESTIVAL. May, NJ. Entrants whose current or family 
residence is in NJ eligible to enter fest celebrating 
student talent. Cats: elementary, middle, jr. HS, HS. 
college, university, independent. Any style, on any 
subject, max. 30 min., completed after Jan. 1., 1989. 
Entry fee: $15. Formats: 16mm. super 8, 3/4", 1/2". 
Deadline: Mar. 15. Contact: Robert E. Lynch. NJ Young 
Film & Videomakers' Festival, c/o Humanities Dept. 
NJInst. of Technology, Newark, NJ 07102; (201) 596- 



52 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



3281; fax: (201) 565-0586. 

RIVERTOWN (MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL) INTER- 
NATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, early May, MN. Growing 
noncompetitive fest, establ. in 1983, has become 1 of 
largest (audiences of over 24,000) in upper Midwest 
region w/ abt 90 features shown, selected shorts or 
featurettes; programs contemporary int'l films; US 
independent work; different nat'l cinema ea. yr, 
commercial features for opening & closing. Schedule 
inch abt 6 US premieres & occasional world premieres. 
Votes on Best of Fest film in several cats, incl. children's, 
feature, short, actor, actress, based on audience poll. 
Fest may bring in filmmakers; coordinates w/ State Film 
Board & IFP/North on seminars. Screenings centered at 
U. of MN campus; other venues, incl. Walker Art 
Center. Noentry fee. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm; possibility 
of video screenings. Deadline: Apr. 1. Contact: Al 
Milgrom, Rivertown (Minneapolis-St. Paul) Int'l Film 
Festival, 425 Ontario St., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414; 
(612) 627-4432; fax: (612) 627-4430; telex: 401514 
UMFILMSOC UD. 

ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 3-4, NY. Sponsored by Movies on a 
Shoestring, group of western NY film buffs, fest establ. 
in 1959 & open to films made w/out any intention of 
financial gain. Member of Int'l Assoc, of Amateur Film 
Festivals. No formal cats.; every entry reviewed, w/ 
critique prepared & sent to filmmaker. Prizes incl. 
Shoestring trophies & honorable mention certificates; 
fest held at Dryden Theater at George Eastman House. 
Attending filmmakers receive housing. Selected films 
from ea. fest assembled into travelling show. Entries 
should be under 30 min. Entry fee: $ 1 5 . Formats: 1 6mm, 
super 8, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 1 . Contact: Josephine 
M. Perini, Rochester Int'l. Amateur Film Festival, Box 
17746, Rochester, NY 14617; (716) 288-5607. 

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, May 

16- June 9, WA. 1 of largest noncompetitive fests in 
Northwest US, founded in 1 976; features (over 60 min.) 
& shorts (under 20 min.) programmed. Last yr 1 39 films 
from 40 countries screened, w/ several US & world 
premieres. Program also incl. special events (tributes, 
seminars, midnight special screenings). Formats: 35mm, 
16mm; preview on cassette. Entry fee: $50 (features), 
$10 (shorts). Deadline: Mar. 15. Contact: Darryl 
MacDonald, Seattle Int'l Film Festival, 801 E. Pine St., 
Seattle, WA 98122; (206) 324-9996; fax: (206) 324- 
9998; telex: 329 473 BURGESS-SEA attn: SFF. 

UNITED STATES INDUSTRIAL FILM FESTIVAL, June 
7, IL. Competitive int'l fest devoted exclusively to 
sponsored & industrial & business films & videos. Cats: 
advertising/sales/promotion; agriculture/forestry/ 
oceanography; art/culture; career guidance; community 
development; documentary; education; employee 
relations/dealer communications; environment/energy/ 
conservation; fundraising; history /biography; industrial/ 
technical processes; medicine/health; nature/wildlife; 
politics; public relations; recreation; religion; safety/ 
insurance; sciences; specialty productions; TV 
commercials; TV/home video programming; training; 
travel/geography/transportation. Awards: Gold Camera 
Award, Silver Screen Award, Certificate of Creative 
Excellence. Entries must have been completed since 
Mar. 1. 1990. Formats: 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Entry fee: 
$130. Deadline: Mar. 1. Contact: J.W. Anderson, 
chairman/Patricia A. Meyer, executive director, US 
Industrial Film & Video Festival, 84 1 N. Addison Ave., 
Elmhurst, IL 60126-1291; (708) 834-7773; fax: (708) 
834-5565. 



USA FILM FESTIVAL, Apr. 1 8-25, TX. Fest has 3 major 
components — major noncompetitive feature section 
(now in 21st yr); a National Short Film & Video 
Competition (in 13th yr); & KidFilm (held Jan. 18-21) 
for shorts & features. Feature section programmed by 
artistic dir. To submit feature or short film for 
consideration, send preview cassette w/ publicity & 
production info. Short film/video competition showcases 
new & significant US work. Entries should be under 60 
min., completed after Jan. 1, 1990. Cash prizes in 
amount of $6750 awarded in cats of narrative ($1000), 
nonfiction ($1000), animation ($1000), experimental 
($1000), creative commercials ($1000), Charles Samu 
Award ($500), 5 Special Jury Awards ($250). Grand 
Prize winner flown to Dallas to receive cash, award & 
present winning film/video. Formats: 3/4", 1/2", Beta, 
35mm, 16mm. Deadline: Mar. 1 (short film & video 
competition); Mar. 8 (festival). Contact: Richard 
Peterson, artistic director/Ann Alexander, managing 
director, USA Film Festival, 2917 Swiss Ave., Dallas, 
TX 75226; (214) 821-6300; fax: (214) 821-6364. 

VERMONT WORLD PEACE FILM FESTIVAL, June 
26-30, VT. Peace, justice & environment are themes of 
competitive biennial fest inaugurated in 1985 w/purpose 
of advancement of public education & awareness of 
issues concerning global ecological crisis & need for 
peace economy. Cats: nuclear disarmament, struggle for 
peace & justice, intervention in 3rd world, building 
ecological security. All genres. Program also incl. 
seminars & panel discussions. Entry fees: vary w/length. 
Format: 1 6mm, fest considering video sidebar. Deadline: 
Mar. 1. Contact: Lorraine B. Good-Samsom, Vermont 
World Peace Film Festival, 3 A Rockland St. , Burlington, 
VT 05401; (802) 660-8201; fax: (802) 658-3311. 

VIDEO SHORTS, April, WA. Winners receive $100 
honorarium & nonexclusive distribution contract. 6 
min. max. length per entry. Entry fee: $15; $7 for ea. 
addt'l entry on same cassette. Formats: 3/4", 3/4" SP, 
8mm, 1/2", hi-8. Deadline: Feb. 1 . Contact: Mike Cady , 
Video Shorts, Box 20369, Seattle, WA 98102; (206) 
325-8449. 

WASHINGTON DC INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 
/FILMFEST DC, April, DC. Invitational, curated 
noncompetitive fest of more than 50 int'l features & 
shorts. Washington, DC premieres. Features, docs, short 
films under 15 min. & films for children (free Filmfest 
DC for Kids) accepted. Fest also sponsors workshops & 
symposia featuring filmmakers, media professionals & 
scholars. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: Feb. 1. 
Contact: Filmfest DC, Box 21396, Washington, DC 
20009; (202) 727-2396. 



Foreign 



BANFF TELEVISION FESTIVAL, June 2-8, Canada. 
Int'l competitive event for TV productions completed & 
shown for first time in yr preceding fest. Cats: TV 
features (70 min. or more); limited series (3 or more 
evening installments); continuing series, short dramas, 
comedies, social/political documentaries; popular 
science programs, arts docs, performance specials, 
children's programs. TV features & feature length docs 
awarded in other int'l Canadian fests not eligible. Awards: 
Rockie bronze sculpture to best in ea. cat; Grand Prize 
($5000 Cdn.); 2 special awards ($2500 Cdn.). All 
competition entries receive certificates. Entry fee: $175 
Cdn. (may be subject to 7% GST). Formats: 3/4". 
Deadline: Mar. 15 (entry forms); Mar. 28 (cassettes). 
Contact: Jerry Ezekiel, Banff Television Festival, 306- 



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BULGARIA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF COME- 
DY FILMS, May, Bulgaria. Biennial competition now in 
6th yr. Entries should be produced since 1987. Sections: 
Cinema: features, medium & short films; TV: feature, 
medium & short length. Work judged by int'l jury; fest's 
Grand Prix named in honor of Charlie Chaplin. Special 
prize for children's comedy, satirical films; prizes also 
for full-length feature (TV & film), best actress/actor, 
best direction. Org. Committee may invite makers of 
selected entries, covering costs of stay in Gabrovo. No 
entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4" (PAL TV 
productions only). Deadline: Mar. 1. Contact: Stefan 
Furtounov, Int'l Festival of Comedy Films, House of 
Humour & Satire, 5300 Gabrovo, Bulgaria; tel: 27229/ 
27125; telex: 67413. 

CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, May 9- 

20, France. 44th yr of largest int'l fest, attended by over 
35,000 guests, incl. stars, directors, distributors, buyers 
& journalists. Intensive round-the-clock activities 
encompass numerous screenings, parties, ceremonies, 
press conferences & one of world's major film markets 
(w/ 100s of films); screening or award at Cannes provides 
fame & prestige for filmmaker. Selection Committee, 
appointed by Administration Board, chooses entries for 
Official Competition (abt 20 films) & for Un Certain 
Regard section. Films must be made w/in prior 12 mo., 
released only in country of origin & not entered in other 
film festivals. Official selection consists of 3 sections: In 
Competition, features & shorts compete for major fest 
awards (Palme d'Or, Special Jury Prize, Best Director/ 
Actress/Actor/Artistic Contribution); Special Out-of- 
Competition, features ineligible for competition (e.g. 
films by previous winners of Palme d'Or); Un Certain 
Regard (noncompetitive) for films of int'l quality, which 
for various reasons do not qualify for Competition, 
significant works in the fields of innovative features, 
films by new directors, etc. Parallel sections incl. 
Quinzaine des Realisateurs ( Directors ' Fortnight), main 
sidebar for new talent/innovations, sponsored by Assoc, 
of French Film Directors; La Semaine de la Critique 
(Int'l Critics Week), selection of 1st or 2nd features & 
docs chosen by members of French Film Critics Union 
(selections must be completed w/in 2 yrs prior to fest) & 
Perspectives on French Cinema. Market, administered 
separately, screens films in main venue & local theater. 
Top prizes incl. Official Competition's Palme d'Or 
(feature & short) & Camera d'Or (best 1st film in any 
section). For info & accreditation, contact: Catherine 
Verret, French Film Office, 745 Fifth Ave., New York, 
NY 10151;(212)832-8860,fax: (212) 755-0629. Official 
Section: Festival International du Film (deadline Mar. 
1 ), 7 1 , rue du Faubourg St. Honore, 75008 Paris, France; 
tel: 1 46 66 92 20, fax: 1 42 66 68 85, telex: FESTTFI 650 
765 F. Quinzaine des Realisateurs (deadline Apr. 17). 
Societe des Realisateurs de Films, 215 Faubourg St. 
Honore, 75008 Paris, France; tel: 1 45 61 01 66, fax: 1 
40 74 07 96. Semaine International de la Critique 
(deadline Mar. 1), Claude Beylie, president, 90, rue 
d' Amsterdam, 75009 Paris, France; tel: 1 40 16 98 30. 
Cannes Film Market, attn: Marcel Lathiere, Michel P. 
Bonnet, 71, rue du Faubourg St. Honore, 75008 Paris, 
France, tel: 1 42 66 92 20; fax: 1 42 66 68 85; telex: 
FESTIFI 650765. 

COGNAC INTERNATIONAL THRILLER FILM FEST- 
IVAL, March, France. Established in 1982, JTFPA- 
recognized 4-day event screens new feature thrillers in 
competition. Program also incl. shorts competition. 



noncompetitive sidebars, & special programs. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm (French shorts only). Deadline: Feb. 1. 
Contact: Lionel Chouchan, Int'l Thriller Film Festival 
of Cognac, Promo 2000, 33 Ave. MacMahon, 75017 
Paris, France; tel: 33 1 42677140; fax: 33 1 46228851; 
telex: 640736. 

GOLDEN PRAGUE INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION 
FESTIVAL, June, Czechoslovakia. 28th annual 
competition in 2 cats: TV drama & TV music programs. 
Entries must be original programs under 90 min. (60 
min. for music programs) created esp. for TV, produced 
after Jan. 1, 1990 & not screened at other int'l fest 
competitions. Awards: Dramatic: Golden Prague for 
best entry. Prize of Union of Czechoslovak Dramatic 
Artists, Intervision Prize, Prize of Czechoslovak TV 
viewers; Music: Golden Prague, Prize for best 
interpretation/exceptional contribution to field of TV 
music, Intervision Prize; Journalists Prizes. No entry 
fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 1" (PAL), 2" (PAL), 3/4" 
(PAL). Deadline: Mar. 5. Contact: Josef Houzvik, Golden 
Prague , Czechoslovak Tele vision, 29 Gorkeho Namesti, 
1 1 1 50 Prague 1 . Czechoslovakia; tel: 2364760; fax: 42 
22321342; telex: 121800. 

GOLDEN ROSE OF MONTREUX, May 5-11, Swit- 
zerland. Light entertainment TV programs (comedy, 
music, variety) accepted in competition for fest, now in 
31st yr. Last yr 71 entries from 29 countries judged & 
over 600 TV programming & production execs attended, 
as well as over 100 journalists. Conference sessions. 
Entries must be televised for 1st time in 14 mo. prior to 
awards ceremony; between 24-60 min. in length. Awards: 
Golden Rose of Montreux ( 10,000 Swiss francs); Silver 
Rose, Bronze Rose, Special Prize of City of Montreux 
(funniest). Concurrent competitions held for network 
entries & entries from ind. producers/distributors. Entry 
fee: 500 Swiss francs. Format: 3/4". Deadline: Mar. 15. 
Contact: Jean-Luc Balmer, director. Golden Rose of 
Montreux, Golden Rose Contest Secretariat, Swiss 
Broadcasting Corporation, C.P. 234. CH-121 1 Geneva 
8, Switzerland. NY contact: John Nathan, Golden Rose 
of Montreux, 509 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022; 
(212) 223-0044; fax: (212) 223-4531. 

HAMBURG NO BUDGET SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, 

May, Germany. Independently made short films & 
videos produced "cheaply . quickly & cheekily" accepted. 
Entries must be under 15 min. & cost of production 
should not exceed 10,000 DM ($6776). Jury & audience 
awards Hamburg Prize for New Blood for furtherance of 
int'l short film (20,000 DM). 3 Minute Quicky section 
accepts works under 3 min. produced on subject of 
money, awarded by audience; Steppin' Out section held 
for shorts w/ production costs over 10,000 DM (under 
1 5 min.). No entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, 
3/4", 1/2", Beta. Deadline: Mar. 31. Contact: Markus 
Schaefer, No Budget Short Film Festival, Glashiit- 
tenstrasse 7, 2000 Hamburg 36, Germany; tel: 040 
434499; fax: 040 4302703. 

LAON INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL FOR YOUNG 
PEOPLE, March, France. Established in 1983, 
competitive fest programs films for children, incl. 
animated cartoons & puppet films. Shorts shown out of 
competition. Fest has int'l young people's jury. Awards 
incl. Grand Prix, int'l jury prize, public award. CIFEJ 
(Int'l Center for Youth & Children's Films) award. 
Entries should be completed in previous 2 yrs. All 
lengths & genres. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. Contact: 
Marie-Therese Chambon, Festival International du 
Cinema Jeune Public de Laon. Maison des Arts et 
Loisirs. Place Aubry, B.P. 526, 02001 Laon Cedex, 



54 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 





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France; tel: 23 20 38 61; fax: 23 79 54 23; telex: 1 19000 
L 32778. 

LA ROCHELLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

June, France. Noncompetitive fest accepts narrative 
feature auteur films screened in 2 main sections : homages 
to working filmmakers & The World as It Is section of 
previously unseen films. About 70 films shown ea. yr, 
w/ abt 40 premieres; debates scheduled w/ directors. 
Deadline: Mar. 30. Contact: Jean-Loup Passek, Festival 
Int'l du Film de La Rochelle, 28, Blvd. du Temple, 
7501 1 Paris, France; tel: 43 57 61 24; fax: 48 06 50 22; 
telex: D2CDG 230 168F. 

LES ENFANTS LUMIERE INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL ON CHILDHOOD, April 9-16, France. Debut 
yr, accepts films on childhood. Sections: Competition: 
35mm fiction films; Discovery: 35mm fiction films for 
young audiences; Information: docs in any format on 
current childhood events in world; Retrospective 
(Childhood & Law). Awards: Grand Prix ($30,000); 
Prix Public ($10,000); Short Film Award ($3,000); Best 
Doc ($10,000). Rep. of each selection invited w/ trans. 
& 3 nights hotel. French premieres required, completed 
aft. Jan. 1, 1989. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", 
Beta. Deadline: Jan. 31. Contact: Loic Grelier, Les 
Ensants Lumiere, 7, rue Jules-Chalande, 3 1 000 Toulouse, 
France; tel: 61 23 33 37; fax: 61 23 63 33. 

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 7-23, Australia. Celebrating 40th anniv., Melbourne 
is 1 of Australia's 2 largest fests & its oldest. Programs 
eclectic mix of genres of independent work showing 
"innovation & originality" w/ special interest in feature 
docs & shorts. Each yr premieres substantial program of 
new Australian cinema. Int'l short film competition 



(now in 29th yr) important part of program, w/ cash 
prizes in 7 cats: Grand Prix ($4000), Documentary 
($ 1 500), Fiction ($1 500), Experimental ($ 1 500), Student 
($1500), Animation ($1500), Children's (potentially 
lucrative distribution offer from State Film Centre of 
Victoria). Fest especially looking for entries forchildren's 
section. Competition entries must be completed on 
35mm or 15mm, under 60 min. since Jan. 1990.Festalso 
screens programs of super 8 & videos, out of competition. 
Fests may be useful window to Australian theatrical & 
nontheatrical/educational distributors & new Australian 
TV networks interested in buying shorts. Entry fee: 
A$20 (abt $15). Formats: 70mm, 35mm, 16mm, super 
8, 3/4". Deadline: Mar. 22. Contact: Tait Brady, director, 
Melbourne Int'l Film Festival, Box 12367, A'Beckett 
St. Post Office, Melbourne 3000, Australia; tel: 03 663- 
2953/663-1896; fax: 03 662-1218; telex: 152613 
FIFEST. 

MONTBELIARD INTERNATIONAL VIDEO AND 
TELEVISION FESTIVAL, June, France. 6th yr of int'l 
competition for all cats of video, w/ proof of personal 
research evident in form. Entries must have been 
produced after Sept. 1989, originated on video, over 5 
min. For accepted works, fest provides travel & hotel for 
one rep. Awards: 1st Prize: lOO.OOOFF; 2nd Prize: 
50,00OFF; 3rd Prize: 25,OOOFF; various additional 
awards. In addition to competition, program features 
screenings & tributes to French & int'l artists; 
installations; theatrical, choreographic, musical & video 
performances; meetings w/ directors; int'l lectures on 
culture & TV & Videotheque Ad Libitum for work out 
of competition. Entry fee: 250FF. Formats: 3/4", 1/2". 
Deadline: Mar. 31. Contact: Pierre Bongiovanni, 
Manifestation Internationale de Video et de TV de 



Montbeliard, B.P. 236, 25204 Montbeliard Cedex, 
France; tel: 81 91 37 1 1; fax: 81 91 1025; telex: 202 139 
F RCINF ATTN PB69 BONGIOVA. 

MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF YOUNG 
CINEMA, May, Canada. Work of young independent & 
nonpro filmmakers accepted for competitive fest, estab. 
in 1980 & sponsored by Association pour le Jeune 
Cinema Quebecois in collaboration w/ regional groups. 
Work must be produced after Jan. 1, 1989, under 30 
min., not intended for theater & TV exhibition or shown 
commercially in theaters or on Canadian TV. Fiction, 
doc, animation, experimental. Entry fee: $20 ( incl. return 
shipping). Formats: 16mm, super 8, 3/4", 1/2", Beta. 
Deadline: Mar. 9. Contact: Mario Pierre Paquet/Denis 
Laplante, Festival International du Jeune Cinema, 4545 
Av. Pierre-de-Coubertin,C.P. 1000 Succ. M.Montreal, 
Quebec, HI V 3R2, Canada; (514) 252-3024; fax: (514) 
251-8038; telex: 05-829647. 

NORTHEASTERN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOCIA- 
TION FILM SCREENINGS, March, Canada. Ethno- 
graphic filmmaking shown at annual meetings of assoc; 
doc, experimental, educational, animated, TV, health/ 
medical/scientific works accepted. Formats: 3/4", 1/2", 
16mm. Deadline: Mar. 1. Contact: Patrick Dionne, 
Commission on Visual Anthropology, Dept. of 
Anthropology, Universite de Montreal, Box 61 28, Station 
"A" Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3J7, Canada; tel: (514) 
343-6565; fax: (514) 343-2494. 



OBERHAUSEN FESTIVAL OF SHORT FILMS, April 
24-30, Germany. From Feb. 4-8, FIVF hosts rep of 
Oberhausen during NYC preselection screening of 
shorts for 1991 fest Now in 37th edition, fest 
showcases innovative independent & experimental 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 55 



The Media Center 

at 

Visual Studies 

Workshop 

is accepting proposals for its 
Equipment Access Program. 

Artists ind independent producer* will be 

awarded access at reduced rates to the 

production and post-production systems at the 

Media Center for work on non- commercial projects. 

3/4-3/4 with timecode & TBC, 

Hi8 -3/4, MIDI Room, 

Amigas for animation, sound, & CG, 

16mm 4-plate flat bed, 

Classes and workshops for all systems. 

For more information call 

716-442-8676 

or write to 

The Media Center at VSW 

31 Prince Street 
Rochester, New York 14607 





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(Formerly Video Deal) 





short & documentary films of ail genres. Competitive 
event recognized by IFFPA, programming work in 
cats of social documentation, new developments in 
animation, experimental & short feature films, student 
film (esp. from film schools), first films & works 
from developing countries'. Sections: intl competition 
(film only, length up to 35 mm., approx 20 prizes w/ 
cash awards from 2,000- 1 O.OOODM, completed after 
Jan. l,1989,unawardedmotherIFT r PAfests ) <3erman 
pj«mierc); German program; special program 1 (films/ 
videos dealing w/ people of different languages, 
cultures, religions, castes, nationalities, ethnic groups 
living together; up to 45 min.); special program 2 
(films/videos reacting aesthetically to current politicai 
& media/technological changes, up to 45 min.); 
special program 3 (short film programs from various 
TV orgs, related seminar sponsored by Medien- 
operative Berlin on developing new models of 
cooperation for production & broadcast of short 
films on TV); special program 4 (selection from 1st 
final class at Inti School of Film & TV in Cuba); 
seminar on small film w/in big film; commercials, 
video sports & influence on dramaturgy of features. 
Fest staff travels world for selection. 22nd 
Filmotheque of Youth (Apr. 20-30) will be held as 
part of fest. Entries should not be longer than35 min.: 
in certain cases docs may be 60 min. Future editions 
will focus on commercial genres of short film — 
1992: advertising; 1993: industrials. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, super 8; preview on 3/4" or 1/2" only. Entry 
fee: $ 1 5, payable to FTVF. Deadline: Jan. 25. Forinfo 
& appL, send SASE or contact: Kathryn Bowser, 
Festival Bureau, FTVF, 625 Broadway, 9th fl„ New 
York, NY 10012; (21 2) 473-3400. Festival address: 
Angela Haardt, director, Jochen Coktewey, deputy 
director, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, 
Christian-Stegerstrasse 10, 4200 Oberhausen 1, 
Germany; tel: (208) 807008; fax: (208) 852591; 
telex: 856414 kuobd. 

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL, June 7-21. Australia. 
Fest dir. Paul Byrnes will again visit FTVF mis yr. at 
the end of February to seek out US independent 
entries for the next edition. He is particularly looking 
for feature documentaries & several shorts, w/ 
preference for those under 30 min. Sydney is 1 of 
Austria's major film events and 1 of world's oldest 
tests, now in 38th yr. Noncompetitive int'l program 
mixes features, shorts, docs & retros in selection of 
over 130 films from several countries. Many films 
shown at Sydney shared w/Melboume Film Festival, 
which runs almost concurrently. Most Australian 
distribs & TV buyers attend fest, which has 
enthusiastic & loyal audience. Provides excellent 
opportunity for filmmakers to gain publicity & access 
to Australian markets. Each yr. fest conducts audience 
survey, w/ results provided to participating 
filmmakers. Entries must be Australian premieres 
completed in previous yr. Fest pays roundrrip group 
shipment of selected fu^fromFTVF office. Formats: 
70mm, 35mm, 16mm; preview on 3/4", 112". Entry 
fee: $20, payable to FTVF. Deadline: Feb. 15. For 
info & applications, send SASE or contact: Kathryn 
Bowser, Festival Bureau, FTVF, 625 Broadway, 9th 
fL, New York, NY 10012; (212) 473-3400. Festival 
address: Paul Byrnes, fest director, Sydney Film 
Festival, Box 25, Glebe NSW 2037, Australia; tel: 
(02) 660-3844; fax: (02) 692-8793; telex: AA75 111. 



TRENTO INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF MOUN- 
TAIN, EXPLORATION AND ADVENTURE FILMS, April 
21-27, Italy. Competitive fest accepts films/videos in 



cats: mountains (in human, social, alpine, sports aspects); 
exploration (scientific/adventurous, territories, waters, 
flora & fauna, environmental conservation); adventure 
(sport not aimed at violence against man orenvironment); 
sport (winter sports incl. sports climbing); video. Films 
& videos judged together. Awards: L. 10 million (1st 
prize); L. 5 million (best documentary, best fiction); L. 
3 million in ea. of 5 official cats. Deadline: Mar. 15. 
Contact: Filmfestival Internazionale Montagna 
Esplorazione Avventura "Citta di Trento," C.P. 402, 
Centra S. Chiara, Via S. Croce, 67, 38100 Trento, Italy; 
tel: 0461 986120; fax: 0461 237832. 

VARNA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF RED CROSS 
ANDHEALTHFTLMS, May 25-June 2, Bulgaria. Biennial 
IFFPA-recognized competition for films w/ Red Cross, 
health, ecological, humanitarian related subjects, under 
theme Through Humanity to Peace & Friendship. Now 
in 14th edition, fest attracts over 300 entries from 55 
nations & 5 int'l orgs. Entries must be completed after 
Jan. 1, 1989. All genres of features, shorts, medium 
length & TV films. Awards: feature: Grand Prix, Prizes 
for best direction/actor/actress, Special Prize of Red 
Cross to best film w/ humanitarian character, short & 
medium length: Golden Ship Grand Prix of President of 
Bulgarian Red Cross, Grand Prix of Red Cross for best 
Red Cross film. Grand Prix for best health film, Special 
Prize for best scientific or instructional film, 1st Prize 
(Gold Medal), 2nd Prize (Silver Medal); TV programs: 
Grand Prix, 1st Prize (Gold Medal), 2nd Prize (Silver 
Medal), Special Prize for film on health education. No 
entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: Mar. 
25. Contact: Alexander Marinov, Int'l Festival of Red 
Cross & Health Films, Sofia 1527, Blvd. Biruzov 1, 
Bulgaria; tel: 457280; fax: 441759; telex: 23248 bchk 
bg. 

VIDEO POSITIVE, May, England. Established in 1989, 
noncompetitive video fest accepts experimental, art, 
animated & computer art video productions. Formats: 3/ 
4", 1/2", Beta, super 8. Deadline: Jan. 31. Contact: Eddie 
Berg, Video Positive '91, 40A Bluecoat Chambers, 
School Lane, Liverpool. LI 3BX, England; tel: (051) 
709 2663. 

YAMAGATA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY 
FTLM FESTIVAL, Oct. 7-13, Japan. Biennial competitive 
fest, organized in 1989 to celebrate Yamagata City's 
100th anniversary, is 1st int'l fest in Asia devoted 
exclusively to documentary. Sections incl. competition, 
special invitation, other screenings & events. Awards: 
Robert & Frances Flaherty Grand Prize (¥3,000,000); 
Mayor's Prize (¥1,000,000); 2 runner-up (¥300,000 
ea.); Encouragement Prize (¥300,000); Special Prize 
(¥300,000). 1 rep of ea. selected film invited to fest w/ 
expenses covered. Films subtitled by fest & fest covers 
cost of subtitled print retained in fest archives. Films 
must be produced originally as documentaries, after 
April 1, 1989, preferably of 60 min. or more; must be 
Japanese premiere. No entry fee (enclose return postage 
or fest will keep entry in library). Formats: 35mm, 
16mm; preview on 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 31. Contact: 
Yukio Fukushima/Markus Nornes/Steven Teo, program 
coordinators, Yamagata International Documentary Film 
Festival, Tokyo Office (for collection of films, formation 
of jury, invitations, subtitling). Kitagawa Bldg. 4F. 6-42 
Kagurazaka. Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162. Japan; tel: (03) 
266-9704; fax: (03) 266-9700; telex: 2322240 CMX J. 
Yamagata Office (planning, general administration): 
International Relations Office. Yamagata City Office. 
General Affairs, Hatagocho 2-3-25, Yamagata 990. 
Japan; tel: (0236) 41-1212; fax: (0236) 24-9618. 



56 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



Buy ■ Rent ■ Sell 



WANTED: CP, Arri, Aaton, Angenieux, Cooke, Zeiss, 
O'Connor, Miller, Sachtler, Steadicam, Nagra. Call for 
current equipment list, lens & camera repair, free lens 
evaluation, new & used equipment needs, rentals. 
Whitehouse A/V (805) 498-4177. 

USED FILM EQUIPMENT for sale: Arriflex, Sachtler, 
O'Connor, Cine 60, Nagra, Colortran, Mole Richardson, 
Moviola, Bell & Howell & more, at great prices! Call 
Ralph at (718) 284-0223. 

GREAT STUFF: 2 KY- 1 900 3-tubes; VO-4800 3/4" port; 
DuKane slide/sound unit; Anvil case; Auricon Superl6 
sync, 12-120, 2 mags; Bogen tripod & heads; 16mm 
viewers, sync block, reader, rewinds. For list: Worthwhile 
Films, 104 King, Madison, Wl 53703. 

FOR SALE: Panasonic 3/4" editing system NV 9240- 
NV 9600, N V A 500 controller: $5,000. (9 14) 27 1 -2066. 

FOR SALE: 6-plate Steenbeck in excellent condition. 
$6,800, negotiable. Call Cathy (212) 580-2075. 

FOR RENT: Sony "Super Bright" 1 04 1 Q video projector. 
Brand new. Excellent picture quality. Low rates. With or 
without screen. (212) 226-7188. 

FOR RENT/EXCHANGE: In exchange for place to stay, 
free use of either: 3/4" Sony edit system $450-650/wk in 
own home; Betacam SP camera/deck: $8-10,000 for 
half ownership or $400/day. (212) 768-1600. 

Freelancers 

BETACAM SP packages available: New BVW-507 (w/ 
700-line resolution); BVW-505 also avail. Your choice 
of field production package comes w/ award-winning 
videographer, Toyota 4-Runner & competitive rates. 
Call Hal at (201) 662-7526. 

AWARD WINNING Director of Photography looking 
for interesting projects. Owner of super 16 capable full 
Aaton package. Paul (212) 475-1947. 

MUSIC FOR YOUR FILM OR VIDEO project. Composer/ 
producer w/ credits that include True Love, Global Vision, 
extensive work for Harper & Row, Caedmon, also 
Billboard Chart credits. Reasonable rates. John Bauers 
Music Productions (201) 963-3144. 

16MM PRODUCTION PKG from $150/day. Complete 
camera, lighting & sound equip, avail, w/ operator, ass't 
& transport to location. CP 1 6 crystal, fluid head, Lowels, 
sungun, Nagra, radio mics & more. Postprod also avail. 
Negotiable rates. Tom (201) 692-9850. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY available for dramatic 
16 or 35mm productions of any length. Credits include 
Metropolitan. Call to see my reel. John Thomas (201) 
783-7360. 

PBS CREDITED CAMERAMAN (Frontline) with BVW 
300 Betacam & soundman with Seinheiser package, 
fluent in Russian & Polish. Call Slavek (607) 589-477 1 
or fax (607) 589-6151. 

CURRENT SOUNDS PRODUCTIONS: Original music 
scoring for film, video & jingles. Flexible & personable 
composer will work with you. Complete recording studio 
w/ full SMPTE lockup, samplers, synthesizers, MIDI & 
acoustic instruments. (212) 721-2301. 

COMPUTERIZED BUDGETS: AICP production & 
postprod budgets or Hollywood studio feature format. 
High or low, union or non, budget will match your 




Each entry in the Classifieds column has a 
250 character limit & costs $20 per issue. 
Ads exceeding this length will be edited. 
Payment must be made at the time of 
submission. Anyone wishing to run a 
classified more than once must pay for 
each insertion & indicate the number of 
insertions on the submitted copy. Each 
classified must be typed, double-spaced 
& worded exactly as it should appear. 
Deadlines are the 8th of each month, two 
months prior to the cover date, e.g., 
February 8 for the April issue. Make check 
or money order — no cash, please — 
payable to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012. 



needs. Fast & accurate. Competitive rates. Rush service 
avail. Unity Pics (212) 254-0965. 

GRANT WRITER WANTED for nonprofit film/video 
group. Call Jim McKay at Direct Impact: (717) 399- 
9288. 

NEED A WINNING TITLE SONG, written especially for 
your work? Well, I'm your man! I'm an experienced 
songwriter/producer with a home studio in the SoHo 
area. Atmospheric — bluesy — and grooves are definitely 
my specialty. Call John (212) 431-3223. 

THE SCREENPLAY DOCTOR: professional consultant 
& story analyst for major studios will analyze your 
screenplay or treatment at reasonable rates. Specialty 
indie/art films. (212) 219-9224. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER looking for interesting projects. 
OW'iir of an Arri 16SR and other camera & lighting 
equipment. Reasonable rates. Call Ralph (718) 284- 
0223. 

FULL VIDEO SERVICES: Bilingual (Spanish/English) 
producer/prod, manager/still photographer w/ 17 yrs 
exp. in Europe, Japan, Central Amer. & US avail, for 
long or short term. Special rate can incl. bdcst video pkg. 
Ethel Velez (212) 929-3824; fax: 255-3447. 

SHOOT IN MEXICO/CENTRAL AMERICA: Director/ 
cameraman w/ Panasonic U-Matic gear in Acapulco 
will travel/shoot/meet you anywhere. Transportation/ 
accomodations arranged. Call John (313) 987-1344. 

Postproduction 

BOB BRODSKY & TONI TREADWAY: Super 8 & 8mm 
film-to-video mastering w/ scene-by-scene color 
correction to 1", Betacam & 3/4". By appointment only. 
Call (617) 666-3372. 

HESSION-ZEIMAN PROD. We make Betacam look like 



film using Sony BVW 507 bdcst high resol. Betacam & 
Betacam SP w/ complete off-line, on-line postprod. 
services. Field prod. & rental pkgs to suit your doc, 
indus., music vid, commercial project. (212) 529- 1 254. 

OFF-LINE AT HOME: We will rent you 2 Sony 5850s w/ 
RM440 or RM450edit controller & monitors. Low rates 
by the month, $650/wk. Answer your own phone & cut 
all night if you like. Call John at (2 1 2) 245-1 364 or 529- 
1254. 

NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm, super 16, 35mm. 
Credits include Jim Jarmusch, Chris Choy , Renee Tajima, 
Bruce Weber & Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at 
reasonable rates. One White Glove, Tim Brennan, 321 
W. 44th St., #411, New York, NY 10036; (212) 265- 
0787. 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound transfer facilities, 24-hr access. 
Downtown, near all subways & Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

BROADCAST QUALITY EDITING: Edit from Betacam, 

3/4" or 3/4" SP. $99/hr including operator, switcher, slo- 
mo. 50% discount on DVE for AIVF members. Call 
HDTV Enterprises, near Lincoln Center (212) 874- 
4524. 

COZY & CHEAP: 3/4" off-line editing room w/ new 
Sony 5850, 5800, RM440. $500/week, $150/day. 
Midtown location, 24-hr access. Fax, xerox & dubbing 
services available. Call Jane at (212) 929-4795 or 
Deborah at 226-2579. 

IN LOS ANGELES: 3/4" & VHS off-line editing rooms 
for rent. KEM flatbed. Moviola, sound transfer & audio 
sweetening also avail. Call Sim Sadler or Helen Crosby - 
Garcia at Finale Post-Production, (213) 461-6216. 

VIDEO EDITING: Edit your project in the evenings. We 
have a great off-line system with Amiga graphics, mixer 
& time code. Call Al and we'll work out a great deal. 
(212) 620-9157. 

TOTAL SUPER 8 SOUND film services. All S-8 
production, postprod, editing, sync sound, sound mix, 
multitrack, single & double system sound editing. 
transfers, stills, etc. Send SASE for rate sheet or call Bill 
Creston, 727 6th Ave., NY, NY 10010; (212) 924-4893. 

S-VHS, 1/2" VHS industrial editing decks for rough cuts 
& dubs. Also, Alta Cygnus TBC w/ special effects & 
Amiga computer w/ graphics capability, $ 1 5/hr. Private, 
quiet facility in Greenwich Village. Call Bob (212) 473- 
7462. 

16MM EDITING ROOM w/ 6-plate Steenbeck & all the 
extras. In the East Village, 24-hr access, secure bldg. 
Daily, weekly, or monthly rentals at very low rates. Call 
Su at (718) 782-1920, leave message. 



Calling an advertiser? 



Let them know you found 
them In The Independent 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 57 



Films ■ Tapes Wanted 

BROOKLYN MUSEUM seeks high quality 35mm & 
16mm films & single-channel video for fall 1991 series 
of work by & about Native Americans. Narrative, doc & 
experimental work under 60 min., submitted on 1/2" or 
3/4", should address Native Amer, art, culture, history & 
political activism. Deadline: Apr. 15, 1991. Send video, 
submissions & SASE to: Dara Meyers-Kingsley, Film 
& Video Programs, Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern 
Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238. 

COMEDIC FILMS OR ANIMATION under 5 min. sought 
by producer of nat ' 1 TV show . Send VHS copy w/ SASE 
to: Creative Resources Prods, Ste. 900, 701 Seventh 
Ave., New York, NY 10036. 

IMAGE UNION, a weekly 1/2-hr showcase of ind. film/ 
video on Chicago public TV, seeks submissions no 
longer than 27 min. on 3/4" cassette. Send tapes to: 
Image Union, WTTW/Chicago, 5400 N. St. Louis Ave., 
Chicago, IL 60625. 

MEDIA CENTER AT VISUAL STUDIES WORKSHOP 

seeks regional electronic arts for spring 1991 exhibition 
at VSW's Gallery Viewing/Listening Room, cablecast 
on CPN 12 public access & broadcast on WBER 90.5 
FM. Incl. audio art & doc, experimental music, video, 
computer graphics & animation. Artist paid exhibition 
fee. Deadline: Feb. 15. Contact: Northeast Regional 
Electronic Arts Exhibition, Media Center at VSW, 31 
Prince St., Rochester, NY 14607; (716) 442-8676. 

MIXED SIGNALS, New England cable TV series, 
accepting appls for spring 1991 series. Entries must be 
no more than 56 min. Formats: 3/4", 1/2", or 16mm. 
Artists w/ selected work receive $30/min. Deadline: 
Jan. 15. Send work w/ self-addressed return mailer to: 
New England Foundation for the Arts, 678 Massachusetts 
Ave., Suite 801, Cambridge, MA 02139. 

NATIONAL COUNCIL ON FAMILY RELATIONS 
MEDIA AWARDSCOMPETITION. June, MN. Marriage 

& family topics recognized in 23rd yr of competition. 
Cats: human development across life span, parenting 
issues, nontraditional family systems, marital/family 
issues & communication, sexuality/sex role develop- 
ment, substance abuse/addictions, human reproduction 
& more. Works must be completed after Jan. 1, 1989, 
nat'lly available for purchase or rental. Best of Category 
awards for each format. Entry fees: $65-$ 190, based on 
length. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 18 
(video); Apr. 1 (film/filmstrip). Contact: Kristi Prince, 
NCFR Annual Media Awards Competition. 3989 Central 
Ave., NE, #550, Minneapolis, MN 55421; (612) 781- 
9331; fax: (612) 781-9348. 

NIGHTSHIFT looking for all types of student films & 
videos for broadcast on Channel 5, WCVB-TV-Boston. 
Entering its 19th season, NightShift is New England's 
weekly student art showcase. Submit 3/4" videotapes & 
short bio to: Chay Yew, NightShift, WCVB-TV-Boston, 
5 TV Place, Needham, MA 02194-2303; (617) 449- 
0400, ext. 4254. 

PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE seeks video art for two spring 
1991 events: Native American works w/ emphasis on 
poetic, nonfiction approaches & "The Elements," tapes 
dealing with earth, air, water & fire. Honoraria to be 
paid. Send submissions to: Steve Seid, Pacific Film 
Archive, 2625 Durant Ave., Berkeley, CA 94720; (415) 
642-5253. 

SOUTHERN CIRCUIT 1991-92 will tour 6 artists, who 
travel 10 days to 8 southern sites & present 1 show per 




Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are 
included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit for 
length. Deadlines for Notices will be 
respected. These are the 8th of the month, 
two months prior to cover date, e.g., 
February 8 for the April issue. Send to: 
Independent Notices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10012. 



city. Interested artists should submit printed materials 
only, incl. resume & publicity, for 1st round in selection 
process. Deadline: Feb. 1 , 1 99 1 . Contact: South Carolina 
Arts Commission, Media Arts Center, 1 800 Gervais St., 
Columbia, SC 29201; arm: Susan Leonard. 

TAPESTRY INTERNATIONAL, distrib. of ind. docs, 
drama, music & performance, seeks new work for 
foreign & domestic TV markets. Contact: Mary Boss, 
dir. of acquisitions. Tapestry Int'l, 924 Broadway, New 
York, NY 10010; (212) 677-6007; fax: (212) 473-8164. 

VIDEO RATING GUIDE FOR LIBRARIES actively 
seeking videos for review. Quarterly mag. reviews & 
assigns star ratings to more than 2,000 VHS videos/yr. 
Subscribers are public, school & academic librarians 
who buy videos for nontheatrical distrib. Subs: $ 1 10/yr. 
Contact: Gloria Grible; (800) 422-2546, ext. 146. 

Opportunities ■ Gigs 

DIRECTORS GUILD of America & Alliance of Motion 
Picture & TV Producers, now accepting appls for AD 
training program. 8- 1 5 selected for training as 2nd ass't 
directors. Must be at least 2 1 yrs old w/ Associate of Arts 
or Sciences degree from accredited college. Appl. & 
supporting documents must be postmarked by Jan. 12. 
For appl., contact: Assistant Director Training Program, 
14144 Ventura Blvd., Suite 255, Sherman Oaks, CA 
91423; (818) 995-3600. 

HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE seeks ass't professor of video 
prod/criticism for initial app't of 3 yr renewable contract 
beginning Sept. 1991. Position subject to funding. 
Preference given to candidates using doc or mixed 
forms to represent oppressed & minority groups or 
alternatives to dominant media. Critical/analytical 
approach to issues surrounding cultural prod, is essential. 
Strengths in minority/3rd World rep & writing for or 
about media esp. valued. Graduate study required, 
terminal degree &/or prof. exp. preferred. Minority 
candidates & women encouraged to apply. Comm. 
begins appl. review Feb. 15. Send letter, vitae & letters 
of recommendation to: Video Productions Search 
Committee, School of CCS, Hampshire College. 
Amherst, MA 01002. 

INDEPENDENT FEATURE PROJECT seeks executive 
director as chief executive & primary spokesperson for 



the organization. Qualifications: BA degree, 3-5 years 
financial & management experience, proven fundraising 
experience, highly developed org. skills & proven 
leadership ability. Appl. deadline: Jan. 31. Send resume 
& 3 letters of recommendation to: Search Committee/ 
JJFP, 132 W. 21st St., 6th fl., New York, NY 1001 1; fax: 
(212) 243-3882. 

INDIAN AMERICA, 10-part doc TV series by Media 
Resources Associates on histories & cultures of Native 
America, seeks Native American media professionals & 
writers &/or talented would-be filmmakers for positions 
on series' creative teams. Send vitae, writing samples &/ 
or sample tapes to: Robin Maw, Media Resource 
Associates, 3615 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington 
DC 20016; (202) 686-4457; fax: (202) 362-0110. 

NATIONAL DIRECTOR: National Alliance of Media 
Arts Centers (N AMAC) seeks director to open and head 
new nat'l office. NAMAC is nonprofit org. founded in 
1980 to increase public understanding & support for 
media arts, incl. film, video, audio & intermedia arts. 
Nat'l director will be person of vision & commitment, 
an experienced & dynamic organizer who understands 
the challenges & opportunities facing the field. 
Qualifications incl. solid organizing bkgd, familiarity 
w/ media arts, excellent communications, fundraising & 
financial management skills; willingness to travel. For 
complete job description, write: NAMAC, 480 Potrero 
Ave., San Francisco, CA 941 10. Deadline: Feb. 1. 

ROCHESTER INSTITUTEOFTECHNOLOGY: 2 tenure- 
trk positions open in undergrad. film/video production. 
Responsibilities incl. teaching professional specialties 
(prod., screenwriting, computer animation, history & 
aesthetics, etc.). Requirements: M.A. preferred. Ideal 
candidate has strong teaching & prod. bkgd. Salary & 
rank commensurate w/ qualifications. EEO. Deadline: 
Feb. 1 5 . Send cover letter, resume to: Erik Timmerman, 
Film/video search committee, SPAS , Rochester Institute 
of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623-0887. 

SINKING CREEK FILM CELEBRATION seeks manag- 
ing dir. for film/video festival, education programs, 
promotion & development. Send resume, references & 
min. salary requirement by Jan. 25 to: Sinking Creek 
Film Celebration, 402 Sarrat Center, Vanderbilt Univ., 
Nashville, TN 37240. 

UNIV. OF SOUTH FLORIDA seeks ass't prof., artist/ 
filmmaker for 9 mo. tenure track position beg. Aug. 6. 
1991 . Requires MFA or equivalent, ability to teach full 
range of grad/undergrad. filmmaking courses. Also seeks 
ass't prof, tenure track for Artist-Computer/Electronic 
Images position beg. Aug. 6. MFA degree or equivalent 
required. Artist's primary tool or medium is computer in 
fine art application. Women, minorities, Vietnam vets, 
handicapped strongly encouraged to apply. Deadline: 
Feb. 26. Contact: Brad Nickels, Art Dept., Univ. of S. 
Florida, Tampa, FL 33620. 

VISITING ARTISTS PROGRAM: N. Carolina Arts Coun- 
cil & N. Carolina Dept. of Community Colleges sponsor 
residencies at community & technical colleges. Visiting 
artists present workshops, lecture/demos, exhibitions, 
in-school activities, readings, concerts & prods. Self- 
development time set aside for artists to devote to own 
work. Residencies range from 9 mo. to one school yr. at 
about $17-25,000 plus generous benefits pkg. Deadline: 
Jan. 15. Contact: Visiting Artist Program, Community 
Development Section, N. Carolina Arts Council. Dept. 
of Cultural Resources, Raleigh, NC 27601-2807. 

WRIGHT STATE UNIV. film/video production dept. 
seeks ass't or associate professor, tenure-track, beg. 



58 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1991 



Sept. 1991, for full range of film prod, classes & to 
advise student filmmakers. Minimum qualifications incl. 
MFA, PhD, or equivalent professional exp.; broad 
knowledge of film/video production; interest in social & 
political dimensions of media & proven success teaching 
doc, narrative & experimental filmmaker. Preferred 
qualifications incl. ability to mentor students in 
experimental film & significant reputation as filmmaker. 
Deadline: Jan. 22. Send letter, resume & 3 refs to: Dr. 
William Lafferty, Theatre Arts Dept., Wright State 
University, Dayton, OH 45435. Women & minorities 
urged to apply. 

Publications 

THE ORIGINS OF PUBLIC ACCESS CABLE TV: 1966- 
1972, the Oct. 1990 edition of Journalism Monographs, 
now avail. Price: $5 w/ airmail surcharge of $3. Contact: 
Assn for Education in Journalism & Mass Com- 
munication, 1621 College St., Univ. of South Carolina, 
Columbia, SC 29208-0251; (803) 777-2005. 

FELIX: A Journal of Media Arts & Communication to 
be published 3x/yr "calls on video artists to speak their 
minds & combat the ogres of conservatism." Subscription 
price: Individuals, $15/yr; institutions, $21/yr. Contact: 
Standby Program, Felix, Box 184, Prince St. Sta., New 
York, NY 10012; oreditorKathy High; (212) 219-0951, 
(718) 624-3896. 

Resources ■ Funds 

CHECKERBOARD FOUNDATION accepting appls for 
1990-91 postproduction awards. 2 to 4 awards of $5,000 
to $10,000 will be granted in spring 1991. Only New 
York State residents may apply. Deadline: March 20. 
For appls, contact: Checkerboard Foundation, c/o Media 
Alliance, 356 West 58th St., New York, NY 10019; 
(212) 560-2919. 

EXPERIMENTAL TV CENTER Electronic Arts Grants 
Program offers presentation funds to nonprofit orgs in 
NYS to assist w/ exhibition of audio, video & related 
electronic art. Projects receiving funding from NYSCA 
ineligible. No deadline . Contact: Electronic Arts Grants, 
Experimental TV Center, 180 Front St., Owego, NY 
13827; (607) 687-4341. 

FINISHING FUNDS of up to $500 provided to New York 
state artists for completion of works of time-based 
electronic art, incl. all genes of audio & video as well as 
computer-generated work, presented on tape or as 
installation, & research projects aimed at advancing the 
electronic arts. Single frame imagery not considered 
unless cinematic. No sponsoring organization needed. 
Students not eligible. Deadline: March 15. Contact: 
Electronic Arts Grants Program, Experimental TV Center 
Ltd., 1 80 Front St., Owego, NY 1 3827; (607) 687-4341 . 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES: 

Humanities Projects in Media deadline: Mar. 15, 1991. 
Contact: James Dougherty, NEH, 1 100 Pennsylvania 
Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20506; (202) 682-5452/ 
786-0278. 

SOUTHEAST MEDIA FELLOWSHIPS avail, to ind. film/ 
videomakers in 10-state region (AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, 
MI, NC, SC, TN, VA). SEMFP is one of 7 regional 
fellowship programs estab. by NEA. Production grants 
of up to $8,000 for new works or works-in-progress & 
for Equipment Access Grants. Deadline: Feb. 1. For 
appls, contact: SEMFP, c/o Appalshop, 306 Madison 
St., Whitesburg, KY 41858; (606) 633-0108. 




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THE INDEPENDENT 59 







Baylor University and KCTF Public Television invite you to: 

History in Film and Television 

Oral History Symposium and Teleconference 



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Waco, Texas 



Ken Burns 

(Producer, The Civil War) 



Henry Hampton 

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Ronald Grele (Columbia U.), Rosemary Gooden (U. of Iowa; Texas A&M), Betty Sue Flowers (U. of 
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George C. Wright (U. of Texas, Austin) and the audience will discuss the use of interviews with Burns 
and Hampton and how history and documentary can be brought together. 

Made possible in part by a grant from the Texas Committee for the Humanities/NEH 



Interactive PBS Teleconference: In affiliation with the University of Kentucky, the 
March 22 afternoon session will be available via satellite to participating sites through the PBS 
Adult Learning Satellite Service. 



Symposium information: 

Institute for Oral History 
Baylor University 
Waco, TX 76798-7271 
817/755-3437 FAX 817/755-1321 



Teleconference information: 

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213/464-6131; New York 212/930-7500. 



LETTERS 



LUDDITES IN HOLLYWOOD? 

To the editor: 

Brian Winston, in his article "HDTV in Hollywood" 
[December 1990], argues that the film community is 
culturally biased against technical innovation. His point 
may be an interesting one, but factual inaccuracies 
render his arguments moot. In every case he mentions 
there seem to be perfectly good technical reasons for the 
choice of one process or technique over the other. 

1. The upright moviola is still used by some feature 
editors not out of some "mysterium" of the editing craft, 
but because it is actually better suited to the quick 
viewing and reviewing of short pieces of film and thus 
more appropriate to the way some editors organize their 
feature cuts. 

2. It is my understanding that optical sound tri- 
umphed over its competitors precisely because of its 
technical superiority. A magnetic system using steel 
wire was in fact developed in Britain and used on several 
films; it failed because its sound quality was inferior to 
that available optically and (I think) because the prob- 
lem of maintaining sync proved too complex. When 
Kudelski finally developed a portable, high-quality 
magnetic tape recorder in the late fifties, it was adopted 
for use on films almost immediately. 

3. Winston wonders why Kodachrome, available as 
an amateur format in the early thirties, was not adopted 
for professional use. The reason was not simply patents; 
Kodachrome is a high contrast reversal stock, and it 
proved to be very difficult to make acceptable prints 
from it. This was not a problem for the amateur, who 
viewed his or her original, but was obviously a fatal 
obstacle to professional production. The Eastman color 
stocks which became available in the early fifties were, 
of course, negative stocks, totally unrelated to 
Kodachrome. 

4. Winston wonders why Hollywood remains stuck 
on the 35mm film width, when 16mm is "perfectly 
adequate for halls seating hundreds." This is laughable; 
large scale 16mm projection is frequently painfully bad. 
This is so not only because of reduced resolution, but 
because the wider projection lens 16mm requires neces- 
sarily entails a far less tolerant back focus adjustment, 
because of inferior sound, and because of limits on the 
amount of light which can be pumped through the 
smaller frame. Even given 16mm projection at its best, 
I don't think that any professional would deny that there 
is a very real difference in quality between it and 35mm 
theatrical projection. Winston's questioning of why the 
industry did not go to some intermediate format ( Pathe 's 
28mm) also makes no sense; it is generally agreed that 
one of film ' s strengths vis a vis video is the existence of 
two simple standards which are used worldwide and 
which don't change every 10 years. And, in fact, Win- 
ston 's thesis to the contrary, technical innovations within 
the 35mm format have at various times achieved wide 
and quick acceptance — anamorphic systems, Techni- 
scope, Technovision, etc. 

Winston's analysis of the flaws in current HDTV 
systems is interesting, and he may well be right that the 
system is doomed to failure. But Winston himself makes 
the case for the system's technical inferiority; why then 
should a supposed anti-innovation bias be responsible 
for its defeat? 

The ways in which cultural and economic factors 
affect (or fail to affect) technical innovation is a fascinat- 
ing subject; I hope The Independent will publish more 



articles in this area, but I also hope that someone will 
check their accuracy first. 

— Zachary Winestine 
New York, NY 

Brian Winston replies: 

Mr. Winestine makes four points which he says render 
my supposition that the film industry is technologically 
conservative "moot." 

1. Winestine says I'm wrong about the "unfriendli- 
ness" of Moviolas. If I am, then he must be prepared to 
tackle Harry Mathias, Panavision's senior consultant, 
whose opinion, given at a SMPTE conference in 1984, 
I was repeating. Anyway, his refutation of Mathias' 
point is that Moviolas are "better." This is an example of 
what Winestine, in his first paragraph, describes as a 
"perfectly good technical reason for a choice." Well, 
that's what Winestine thinks. Mathias thinks otherwise. 
In either case, Winestine's point remains to be made in 
an objective and scientific way. 

2. Winestine's "understanding" of the history of 
sound recording is deficient. I was not talking about wire 
(as he supposes) but tape — as I said but, sadly, did not 
quite communicate to Winestine. I apologize to him, but 
the format of a popular article does not permit footnotes. 
Let me now remedy that and also acknowledge the 
important work of William Lafferty in this area. Profes- 
sor Lafferty's paper "The Blattnerphone: An Early 
Attempt to Introduce Magnetic Tape Recording into the 
Industry" can be found in the Cinema Journal, Summer 
1983. It is to that I was referring. 

The second point under this heading is also, I'm 
afraid, somewhat awry historically. Kudelski did not 
develop his tape machine in a specific form for film 
work until 1962 — not, as Winestine "understands," in 
the late fifties (see SMPTE Journal, November 1962, p. 
902). Further, the machine was not imported into Holly- 
wood (which is what I was talking about) "immedi- 
ately." It is a characteristic of "understanding" as op- 
posed to knowledge that history becomes reduced to the 
progress of great (and I use the term advisedly) men. 
That's what Winestine is doing here. Kudelski, for all 
his considerable achievement, will not serve in such a 
"great man" role. I suggest that it might be as well to 
consult the SMPTE Journal. Audio, and the Journal of 
the Audio Engineering Society to correct this. Of par- 
ticular significance is the piece I was quoting from when 
I mentioned the 64 lb. "lightweight" tape recorder: 
Loren Ryder's "Magnetic Sound Recording in the Motion 
Picture and Television Industries," published in the 
SMPTE Journal, July 1976. Again, I apologize to 
Winestine that the format of the article didn't allow me 
to give him this reference previously. 

3. Winestine totally misreads what I said about 
Kodachrome. It was the patent armlock that Kalmus of 
Technicolor put on Eastman that prevented Kodak from 
offering a negative color stock on any gauge in the 
thirties. The point is not the distinction between negative 
and reversal, which Winestine erroneously thinks I do 
not understand; rather it is between modern dye-coupler 
stocks, whether negative or reversal, and the older 
technology represented by Technicolor. My point is that 
dye-coupler negative stocks could have been offered in 
the thirties and indeed were — by AGFA. (Again, the 
SMPTE Journal is an excellent source; for instance, 
Roderick Ryan's "Color in the Motion Picture Indus- 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 39 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



iNXPEIOENr 



MARCH 1991 

VOLUME 14, NUMBER 2 



Editor: 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 

Art Director: 

Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Janice Drickey 
Mark Nash 
Karen Rosenberg 
Toni Treadway 
Clare O'Shea 
Jeanne Brei 
Christopher Holme 
Laura D. Davis 
(212)473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, Ml 07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published 10 times yearly by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 
625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212) 
473-3400, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational foun- 
dation dedicated to the promotion of video and film, 
and by the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals involved in inde- 
pendent video and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and professional services 
for independents and the general public. Publication of 
The Independent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and 
the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned unless a 
stamped, self-addressed envelope is included. No 
responsibility is assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to 
the editor. Letters may be edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, Inc. Reprints require written 
permission and acknowledgement of the article's pre- 
vious appearance in The Independent. ISSN 0731- 
5198. The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 1991 



AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Kathryn Bowser, acting 
executive director, festival bureau director; Martha Gever, 
advocacy director, Mary Jane Skalski, membership/pro- 
gramming director; Morton Marks, audio/business man- 
ager; Carol Selton, administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Eugene 
Aleinikoff,* Skip Blumberg (vice president), Christine 
Choy, Dee Davis (secretary), Loni Ding, Lisa Frigand,* 
Adrianne B. Furniss, *Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (chair), Jim Klein, 
Regge Life,* Tom Luddy,* Lourdes Portillo, Robert Richter 
(president), Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage,* 
Jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, Debra Zimmerman (treasurer). 

* FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 






>■ 




<! 

i 







12 







COVER: In this issue, Plato's Cave and 
oilier forerunners of cinema are given their 
due by artist T. Zummer. In addition, Karen 
Rosenberg describes the many pre- 
twentief h-century optical devices that are 
alive and well and being put to use by 
today's filmmakers in "Moving Picture 
Machines: Flip Books, Phenakistascopes, 
Zoetropes, and Other Optical Inventions." 
Finally, Debreh Gilbert highlights Bill 
Brand's contemporary zoetrope located in 
a Brooklyn subway tunnel in her article 
"Not Just Another Underground Film." 
Drawing by T. Zummer. 



FEATURES 

1 6 The Prehistory of Cinema 

by T. Zummer 

20 Moving Picture Machines: Flip Books, Phenakistascopes, 
Zoetropes, and Other Optical Inventions 

by Karen Rosenberg 

22 Not Just Another Underground Film 

by Debreh Gilbert 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Wheel of Misfortune: Media Centers Suffer from NEA Reallocations 

by Patricia Thomson 

South Atrica Now Almost Axed 

by Vivian Huang 

Buckeye Bucks: Wexner Center Awards 

by Clare O'Shea 

Vito Russo: 1946-1990 

by Rob Epstein 

Sequels 

12 FIELD REPORT 

Insights from Iran: Postrevolutionary Films on View 

by Persheng Vaziri 

26 FESTIVALS 
29 CLASSIFIEDS 
33 NOTICES 
36 IN MEMORIUM 

Raymond Navano Remembered 

by Gregg Bordowitz, Jean Carlomusto, John Greyson, Lillian Jimenez, 
Catherine Lord, Ellen Spiro 

40 MEMORANDA 

Lawrence Sapadin: A Decade at the Helm 



MARCH 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 3 



WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE 

i Centers Suffer from NEA Reallocations 



IVly impression is 
that they funded the 
larger programs and 
left smaller programs 
to fend for 
themselves," says 
Dan Ladely of the 
Sheldon Film Theater 
in Lincoln, Nebraska. 
"The irony of the 
situation is that they 
decided to drop the 
smaller programs in 
geographic areas 



populations." 



The National Endowment for the Arts has made 
the proverbial jump from the frying pan to the fire. 
In this case, the distance was about half a mile 
down Pennsylvania Avenue — from Capitol Hill, 
where the arts agency was threatened with extinc- 
tion by members of Congress last year, to the 
NEA's offices in the Old Post Office building, 
where it now faces the task of implementing 
Congress' instructions, including a painful 10 
percent cut from its program budget. Although the 
full impact of the reauthorization bill has yet to be 
felt, its effect on programs and policies is begin- 
ning to come into focus. 

10 Percent Fewer Program 
Dollars 

The figures for fiscal year 1991 (which began 
October 1, 1990) present a disheartening picture 
for the arts agency. Although appropriations are 
up $2.8-million, to $174-million for the agency 
overall, there is a net loss in funds allocated to 
federal program grants amounting to $12.5-mil- 
lion or 10 percent, according to NEA spokesman 
Josh Dare. 

In the past, 20 percent of the NEA's budget was 
funneled to state arts agencies and regional arts 
organizations through the endowment's States 
Program, with the block grants parcelled out 
according to a formula based on population. But 
during last year's debate over the agency's reau- 
thorization, conservative members of Congress 
persuaded a majority of their peers to increase the 
states' share to 35 percent. This shift will be 
phased in over three years, promising even greater 
losses in program funds every year through 1993. 
In 1991, the states' portion increased to 25 per- 
cent. 

New Set-Aside Program 

Above and beyond the 25 percent automatically 
allocated to the states, the NEA is now required by 
law to set aside an additional five percent of its 
program funds (approximately $6.2-million) for 
state arts agencies, which will be allocated on a 
competitive basis. These funds are earmarked for 
"developing arts organizations" and projects that 
"stimulate the arts in rural and inner city areas, or 
in other areas that are underserved artistically." 
Qualified organizations may propose projects to 
their respective arts councils, who then must apply 
to the NEA by April 5, explains Dare. As of mid- 
January , the NEA had not yet issued formal guide- 



lines, nor had arts councils settled on procedures 
or deadlines. Even once this fund is up and run- 
ning, it is uncertain whether the media arts will 
recoup any dollars lost from reallocation. B. Ruby 
Rich, director of the Electronic Media and Film 
Program at the New York State Council on the 
Arts, remains skeptical, noting, "I tried twice to 
get funds from the States Program for special ini- 
tiatives in rural media exhibition and have been 
turned down both times in a way that makes us feel 
there's no interest in that discipline." 

Media Arts Budget Cuts 

These losses add up to $1.4-million or 10.6 per- 
cent fewer dollars than last year for the Media Arts 
Program and $1 .7-million less than their original 
FY91 budget, prior to reallocation. Relative to 
other NEA programs, the decrease is about aver- 
age. Media Arts is left with a total of $11.8- 
million to spend this fiscal year. The Media Arts 
category that took the greatest hit is Programming 
in the Arts, scaled back a whooping $1.2-million. 
This translates to 17 percent fewer NEA dollars 
for such nationally broadcast series as American 
Playhouse, Alive from Off Center, Live from Lin- 
coln Center, Great Performances, as well as some 
stand-alone programs. 

The remaining half-million was shaved from 
other categories. The American Film Institute lost 
about six percent of their projected FY9 1 funding. 
Radio Projects was reduced by 1 1 percent. Spe- 
cial Projects was eliminated altogether. Intended 
to fund "special artistic opportunities," this cate- 
gory supported both ongoing projects, such as the 
State and Regional Media Arts Initiative, as well 
as individual festivals, publications, and films. 
Finally, the Film/Video Art categories lost almost 
six percent: National Services dropped 10 per- 
cent, Film/Video Production six percent, Media 
Arts Centers four percent, while Regional Fellow- 
ships gained 20 percent. 

However, the outlook for two of these catego- 
ries, Media Arts Centers and National Services, 
becomes particularly cloudy when the new Media 
Arts Development (MAD) Fund is taken into 
account. The MAD Fund was set up to support 
"small, emerging, and multicultural organiza- 
tions," targeting groups that have never previ- 
ously applied to the endowment or have received 
only sporadic funding (see "Mad Money: NEA 
Announced New Media Fund," January/February 
1991). In FY90, before the change in the states' 
portion of the NEA budget was legislated, Media 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



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Arts Program head Brian O'Doherty obtained a 
special $100,000 allocation from the agency's 
chair, John Frohnmayer. (This $100,000 is not 
reflected in the FY91 budget figures.) This was 
designated start-up money for the new fund, 
administered by the National Alliance of Media 
Art Centers (NAMAC). O'Doherty also antici- 
pated a $150,000 increase in the program budget, 
some of which was to be funnelled to the MAD 
Fund. The $50,000 NEA-supported Management 
Assistance Program, also administered by 
NAMAC, was folded into the fund. "Then we 
could get out the $300,000 without hurting any- 
body. It's very important for people to understand 
that we collected and scraped and got funds to 
start this so that we could have two funds, to bring 
in more people and diversify the field," says 
O'Doherty, adding, "We did not foresee the new 
legislation." 

Reallocation, however, brought about subse- 
quent budget cutting. The MAD Fund's $300,000 
was not scaled back. But other grants made to 
organizations in the Media Arts Centers and 
National Services categories, announced in Janu- 
ary, totalled $262,000 less than last year. Many of 
the groups denied funding by national panels then 
applied for NAMAC grants. But many of these 
are larger, more established groups, which do not 
fit the profile originally described in the MAD 
Fund guidelines. 

Panels Zero Some Funding 

Although the total NEA money flowing to media 
organizations through these various channels is 
$80,000 more than last year, seeming to support 
O'Doherty's claim that Media Arts Centers has 
long been a preferred category in the program, 
many media center administrators are feeling a 
big chill. When the 1991 grants were announced, 
it became painfully apparent how much the ab- 
sence of $262,000 for established groups hurt. 

Of the 67 organizations rejected, only six were 
first-time applicants. The rest included numerous 
media centers with laudable track records, includ- 
ing Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia; Cornell 
Cinema in Ithaca, New York; Upstate Films in 
Rheinbeck, New York; New American Makers in 
San Francisco; Artists Space in New York City; 
and the Center for Contemporary Arts in S anta Fe . 
Others also had long histories of NEA funding, 
such as 91 1 in Seattle; the Collective for Living 
Cinema in New York City; Berks Filmmakers in 
Reading, Pennsylvania; the Helena Film Society, 
in Helena, Montana; plus the only two Latino 
media arts centers that the NEA has consistently 
funded, Cine Action in San Francisco and the 
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio. 

"It was shocking when we saw just who was 
cut," says Ed Hugetz, who was a key player in the 
NAMAC board committee that worked with 
O'Doherty setting up the MAD Fund. Hugetz had 
just met with the MAD Fund panelists as they 
convened in San Francisco. Of the 162 applicants 
to the MAD Fund. 30 had applied to and been 



rejected by the NEA. "Even though we all know 
we need new blood in the field, it couldn't happen 
at a worse time," Hugetz continues. "Personally 
we all were saying, 'How much is this thing 
costing us?'" 

Although many other organizations were funded 
by the NEA at lower levels than in the past, 
average figures show a trend of larger grants for 
fewer organizations. In National Services, 34 
grants totalling $450,000 were awarded this year. 
The average was $13,235, compared to $1 1,442 
for 1990, which produced 43 grants totalling 
$492,000. In Media Arts Centers, the same trend 
applies. Excluding the $200,000 dedicated to the 
MAD Fund, there were 49 grants in 1 99 1 , amount- 
ing to $1,323,000. The average came to $27,000, 
versus $21,527 last year, when 72 grants were 
awarded, totalling $1,550,000. 

Feeling the Impact 

"My impression is that they funded the larger 
programs and left smaller programs to fend for 
themselves," says Dan Ladely of the Sheldon 
Film Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska. "The irony of 
the situation is that they decided to drop the 
smaller programs in geographic areas with low 
populations. It's the opposite of their mandate." 

The Sheldon Film Theater is a case in point. 
The only venue in Nebraska for nonmainstream 
film and video, Sheldon has consistently received 
NEA funding since 1974 at levels ranging from 
$ 1 0,000 to $ 1 5,000. This year it received nothing. 
The reason was not because of any negative opin- 
ions about the organization, Ladely learned, but 
because of the $1.7-million reallocation. "I was 
told the panelists took a more stringent view of 
what they would fund," Ladely notes, adding 
grimly, "Brian [O'Doherty] told me not to be 
optimistic about federal funding in the future." 

A similar case is presented by the Helena Film 
Society in Montana — located, ironically, in the 
congressional district of Representative Pat Wil- 
liams, who chaired the House subcommittee in 
charge of the NEA's reauthorization and was a 
key ally of arts advocates during the battle over 
the NEA. Like Sheldon, the Helena Film Society 
serves a state without any other art theaters or 
venues for independent media. "To do this kind of 
work here is heroic," says executive director Arnie 
Malina. "I was surprised we weren't reduced, say 
from $8,000 [in FY90] to $4,000, instead of 
$8,000 to zero." The timing of the cut is particu- 
larly troublesome, since the media center just 
launched a $1.6-million renovation. Included in 
the groundplan is a second, smaller theater for the 
expansion of their experimental film and video 
programming. Without NEA funding, which 
amounted to 1 4 percent of the film program budget. 
"We '11 have fewer difficult films and fewer travel- 
ling filmmakers," says film programmer Les 
Benedict. 

Panelists also zeroed the Guadalupe Cultural 
Arts Center. The sole venue in San Antonio for 
alternative media. Guadalupe hosts the oldest and 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



largest Latino film festival in this country. With a 
multiracial constituency and an aggressive out- 
reach program geared toward young adults, senior 
citizens, and residents of neighboring housing 
projects, Guadalupe would seem a model arts or- 
ganization for the 1990s. Over the past three 
years, they received incremental increases from 
the endowment. The organization is still waiting 
to learn precisely why they were rejected this 
year. Although theater manager Yvette Nieves- 
Cruz verbally requested written panel comments 
in early December, she hadn't received anything 
as of mid-January. Without these funds, says 
Nieves-Cruz, Guadalupe will not be able to fur- 
ther develop its outreach, nor curate a planned 
women's fiction film series, nor book anything 
without raising the funds from scratch. "What 
does the NEA mean when they want want to see 
cultural diversity and multiculturalism? Are they 
saying that Museum of Modem Art will be the 
place that could present Mexican films and Third 
World films and African films? And for that, they 
will grow in their programming and be called 
multicultural. Yet the organizations that are work- 
ing with these constituents are getting cut," pro- 
tests Nieves-Cruz. "It's appropriation, in the end." 

The MAD Fund 

According to O'Doherty, his instructions to NEA 
panelists were the same as always: "To be as 
tough as possible in terms of quality. The instruc- 
tions are the guidelines." However, panelists were 
informed of the MAD Fund's imminent exis- 
tence. Says panelist Claire Aguilar, programmer 
at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, "We 
were supposed to take this into consideration." 
Panelist Nancy Yasecko recalls, "There were a lot 
of questions raised about the MAD Fund, like, 
'Do established organizations have access to the 
fund — especially those that aren't competitive 
here?' A lot was left to NAMAC to decide." 

MAD Fund panelists, who met in January, 
debated these and other questions both during the 
panel sessions and after, at a five-hour meeting 
with O'Doherty. Says Hugetz, "People had a hard 
time deciding what belongs where. This particular 
panel felt there should be room for groups rejected 
by the NEA that would have no other place to go." 
While Hugetz does anticipate revisions in the 
fund's guidelines as a result of these discussions, 
the panel's recommendations for change must be 
cleared by the NAMAC board. 

In terms of the applications received and funded, 
"The panel said they were delighted by the new 
people — and the quality," Hugetz recalls. "When 
it got down to 80 [finalists], it got tough." Among 
the 43 final grants — which will not be official 
until after the National Council for the Arts meet- 
ing on February 2 — 22 went to proposals rejected 
by the NEA, while 21 went to groups that had 
never previously applied to the endowment or had 
received very sporadic support. In addition, 1 1 
grants were awarded in the Management Assis- 
tance category. 



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Recouping the Losses 

But these and future groups rejected by the NEA 
will not necessarily recoup their losses through 
the MAD Fund, assuming they even get a grant (8 
applicants did not). The largest sum the MAD 
Fund can award is $10,000. This year the grant 
amounts averaged $5,000. In comparison, last 
year the NEA Media Program awarded the Col- 
lective $20,000, Cine Action $ 1 8,000, and Guada- 
lupe $15,000. 

In addition to losing hard cash, many media 
center administrators feel they've lost the cache a 
federal grant provides when trying to raise addi- 
tional funds. As Ladely explains, "An NEA grant 
lends our program a degree of credibility we 
wouldn't have otherwise." The Sheldon Film 
Theater still has a hard time convincing potential 
funders and private donors in Nebraska that this 
kind of work is worth supporting. "People don't 
think it's art. They think it's entertainment and 
should be self-supporting," Ladely states. "We've 
been turning opinion around on this recently," he 
notes, "but the loss of NEA support is a definite 
set-back." 

For organizations planing to turn to their state 
arts council, a further handicap is the absence of 
separate film/video departments in most states. 
"The nice thing about Media Arts at the NEA is 
that we were competing against like," says Ladely. 
"Now, with the state, we'll be competing against 
the other arts. With this prejudice against film as 
an art form, it will be doubly difficult." 

Finally, with so many states facing their own 
budgetary crises, there are now growing fears that 
the additional funds reallocated to the states may 
not reach artists of any kind. Rather, the additional 
funds may fall victim to deficit reduction meas- 
ures. If, for instance, a state arts council is slated 
to receive $90,000 more from the NEA, the state 
legislature could simply reduce appropriations 
for that council by $90,000, using the funds for 
other programs and leaving the state arts council 
with zero net gain. Texas, which faces a $4-billion 
shortfall, is considering these measures, as are 
Minnesota and other states, notesHugetz, adding 
"The $220,000 cut [in the Media Art Centers 
category] hurt. It's disastrous to our field. All that 
reallocation may be going nowhere." 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

SOUTH AFRICA NOW 
ALMOST AXED 

The weekly news magazine South Africa Now has 
never had an easy time with public television. 
Since it was first broadcast by WNYC-New York 
in 1988, the program's producers, the New York- 
based Globalvision, have struggled to get carriage 
on other stations. The latest roadblock came last 
October, when two major PBS stations, KCET- 
TV in Los Angeles and WGBH-TV in Boston, 
announced they were dropping the series. Both 
stations, which had been airing the program for a 
year, cited doubts about its journalistic integrity. 

MARCH 1991 



When two major public 

television stations 

announced the cancellation 

of the weekly news 

program South Africa Now, 

anchored by Mweli Mzizi 

and Fana Kekana, protests 

from anti-apartheid activists 

managed to keep the series 

on the air. 

Courtesy Globalvision 




It was only after strong protests from African 
American communities and anti-apartheid activ- 
ists in those cities that the stations backed away 
from cancelling South Africa Now. 

Critical to the turnaround at KCET was the 
pressure applied by the station's Community Ad- 
visory Board. This volunteer body — common to 
all public television stations — provides feedback 
from the community to station management. After 
listening to South Africa Now advocates speak at 
one oftheirregularly scheduled meetings, KCET's 
community board issued a statement demanding 
that KCET reinstate the series with a panel discus- 
sion and/or provide regular programming on South 
Africa. KCET returned the series to the air, but it 
also took the step of labeling this Emmy-winning 
series with a disclaimer, which says the program 
reflects the point of view of its producers and not 
the station. 

"What happened in L.A. is a very unsanitary 
thing for independent filmmakers," said South 
Africa Now's executive producer Danny Schech- 
ter in a recent telephone interview. "The purpose 
of this label is to warn the audience, 'Be careful of 
this program.' It is a standard that implies this is 
not legitimate journalism. Nobody has ever ac- 
knowledged that NBC, ABC, or CBS news has a 
point of view." 

The dispute started after the watchdog group 
Committee on Media Integrity, led by neoconser- 
vative writer David Horowitz, waged a letter- 
writing campaign and threatened legal action 
against KCET for airing South Africa Now. Hor- 
owitz was quoted in the New York Times as 
saying, "It's hard-line Marxist propaganda posing 
as news." Then, on October 1 9, KCET senior vice 
president and station manager Stephen Kulczycki 
charged that South Africa /Vowwas an unbalanced 
"advocacy program" with a bias toward the views 
of the African National Congress and decided not 
to renew its contract. Four days later, WGBH's 
director of broadcasting Dan Everett also an- 
nounced his intention to cancel South Africa Now 
because he felt the "shows outlived their useful- 
ness," adding, "the conventional media are cover- 



ing the story in more depth now." 

Not everyone would agree with Everett's as- 
sessment. "I fear an ominous trend afoot here," 
wrote Clarence Page in an op-ed in the Chicago 
Tribune. "President de Klerk's happy and sooth- 
ing diplomacy may be accomplishing what his 
government's onerous state of emergency failed 
to do: silence important news and criticism of the 
South African government while the battle to end 
apartheid continues to rage. ..the bias excuse is 
bogus on several counts." And according to Fair- 
ness and Accuracy in Reporting, a media monitor- 
ing group based in New York City, network 
coverage is not necessarily picking up, as WGBH 
claimed. After a period of intensive reporting be- 
ginning with Nelson Mandela's release from prison 
in February and ending with his US tour in June, 
the three network evening news programs fell 
back to an average of only 1.3 broadcast minutes 
per week between July 1 and October 15, 1990. 
This seems to indicate that network news direc- 
tors now consider apartheid a nonstory, ignoring 
the fact that Mandela and other black South Afri- 
cans still cannot vote in their own country. And, 
based on the treatment of South Africa Now, 
similar sentiments may be creeping into public 
television's thinking. 

VIVIAN HUANG 

Vivian Huang is a freelance film writer living in 
New York City. 

BUCKEYE BUCKS: WEXNER 
CENTER AWARDS 

Paper TigerTelevision, the videocollective which 
marks its tenth anniversary this year, is getting 
what may be the perfect gift for the occasion. It has 
been selected as one of three winners of the newly 
established residency awards at the Wexner Cen- 
ter for the Arts, located on the campus of Ohio 
State University in Columbus. The Paper Tiger 
collective will join choreographer Twyla Tharp 
and multidisciplinary artist Terry Allen as resi- 
dents for the 1991-92 academic year. 



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exchange information, attend educational events 

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Eligibility: 

Films, videos & interactive videodiscs. 

Completed works, series & works in progress 

of any length accepted. 

Deadline: April 7, 1991 

The Media Market will take place May 16-18 

at the National Educational Film & Video Festival 

in Oakland, California. 

Other Festival activities include screenings, 

educational & social events. 



Entry Forms. 

National Educational Film & Video Festival 

655 - 13th Street Oakland, CA 94612 

Or call: 415,465 6885 



MARCH 1991 



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The Wexner Center Residency Awards are 
designed to "foster the creation or completion of 
new works and to encourage an artist to explore 
new directions," according to a statement issued 
by the museum. The awards are also intended to 
acknowledge accomplishment, rather than fund 
emerging artists. Awardees will each be given a 
$15,000 commissioning fee, plus an additional 
production allotment of $50,000 to $85,000. 
Funding for the residencies is secured through a 
$3-million grant from Leslie H. Wexner, presi- 
dent and chair of the retail clothing chain The 
Limited. 

"The whole idea of these residencies is very 
flexible. It's a kind of no-strings-attached ar- 
rangement," says Bill Horrigan, curator of film/ 
video at the Wexner. "The artists can do whatever 
they want to do, and each person or group [is a 
resident] for however long their project takes." 

Though there may be some overlap, residen- 
cies will be awarded annually. The second selec- 
tion will occur in November, coinciding with the 
Wexner Center's second anniversary. Generally, 
one award will be made in each of three catego- 
ries: visual arts, media arts, and performing arts. 
There is no application procedure. Rather, the 
Wexner staff is fully responsible for nominating 
and selecting awardees, says Horrigan. 

For the past 10 years, the New York-based 
Paper Tiger collective has produced Paper Tiger 
Television, a half -hour program cablecast on public 
access television that analyzes all forms of mass 
media. The collective was chosen not only in 
recognition of its past accomplishments, but also 
because of its collaborative approach. "What's 
interesting about Paper Tiger is that, compared 
with other people, they can do so much, collec- 
tively and cheaply," Horrigan points out. 

Paper Tiger is still hammering out the specifics 
of its residency project. In one of the museum's 
galleries, the collective plans to set up a reading 
room, "a very informal, funky environment with 
couches, magazines, and TVs playing Paper Ti- 
ger tapes," says Horrigan. Also being considered 
is a publication commemorating both the 
collective's tenth anniversary and its Wexner 
project; purchase of satellite time through the 
cable access distributor Deep Dish Television to 
make Paper Tiger available nationally; and 
community workshops held at the Wexner Cen- 
ter, during which Paper Tiger programs and other 
video projects would be produced. 

DeeDee Halleck, cofounder of the collective, 
believes it to be particularly appropriate for Paper 
Tiger TV, "the quintessential American show," to 
take up residency in "the heartland of America." 
Columbus has a strong background in public 
access programming, Halleck notes, and the 
Wexner residencies provide an opportunity to 
build on this community-based commitment. "Too 
often arts centers are too distant from their com- 
munities. Well, this is going to be a community 
kind of happening," says Halleck, adding, "The 
Wexner could be a center for media activity for the 



country. The people there are very forward-look- 
ing." 

CLARE O'SHEA 

Clare O'Shea is a recent graduate of the Cinema 
Studies Department at New York University. 

VITO RUSSO: 1946-1990 

Film historian and activist Vito Russo died of an 
AIDS-related disease on November 7 at the age of 
44. Born and raised in New York City and edu- 
cated as a film historian, Russo was a pioneer of 
the gay movement. He combined his political 
convictions with his passion for movies in his 
ground-breaking book The Celluloid Closet, a 
history and analysis of homosexual images in 
Hollywood cinema. In his book, his articles and 
essays, and his lectures, he used film as a vehicle 
to inspire, teach, raise consciousness, and kick 
ass. 

Vito was also my dear friend. We first met in 
1976, when I was 20 years old. I'd recently mi- 
grated to San Francisco but was in New York for 
the summer doing research for the documentary 
Word Is Out. My job was to find young gay men 
and convince them to be interviewed for the film. 
Peter Adair, the mastermind behind the film, 
suggested I call Vito Russo. I did, and he invited 
me to a gathering where he introduced me to 50 of 
his closest friends. As with so many other gay 
people from all over the world who called upon 
Vito out of the blue, he was immediately there to 
help. 

A couple of years later, when I was trying to get 
The Times of Harvey Milk off the ground, Vito 
offered to host my first fundraiser. We rented an 
old union hall in New York, and Vito showed 
hours of his favorite film clips — to 500 of his 
closest friends. He had a natural ability to create a 
feeling of community among people, no matter 
what the situation. It was as if Vito were hosting 
several hundred people in his living room, sharing 
precious gems — something he loved to do and did 
for friends and acquaintances so often. We raised 
about $6,000 at the event, but more significantly, 
community support for the project was firmly 
established. It was that feeling of community — 
the seeds of which Vito planted — that supported 
Richard Schmiechen and me throughout the 
making of that film. 

A pioneer and a radical, Vito was never a 
demagogue. His moral sights were clear, simple, 
and direct. He believed passionately in human 
liberation, and specifically he helped create the 
gay universe the world has come to know. In the 
late eighties Vito was a founding member of 
ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and 
GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Anti- 
Defamation). 

Vito will be remembered for his passion and 
dedication, his humor, his uncompromising an- 
ger, and his merciless wit. Jeffrey Friedman and I 
are proud to have preserved a glimmer of his 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH T991 




wonderful spirit in our film Common Threads. 
But his voice, his leadership, and his love were 
treasures that I, and the world, will sorely miss. 

ROB EPSTEIN 

Rob Epstein' s films include the Academy Award 
winning The Times of Harvey Milk and Common 
Threads: Stories from the Quilt. He is currently 
developing a television adaptation o/The Celluloid 
Closet. 



SEQUELS 

Since merging last fall with NABET (National 
Association of Broadcast Employees and Techni- 
cians) Local 15, the East Coast IATSE (Interna- 
tional Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) 
has been busy recruiting new members from film 
schools and low-budget productions — areas in 
which NABET previously thrived ["NABET No 
More," November 1990]. Adopting a new ap- 
proach to films below the $5-million mark, IA 
now will negotiate a flat deal covering all the IA 
locals and is taking a more flexible stance regard- 
ing deferred overtime payment and mixed union 
and nonunion crews. Despite IA's courtship of 
low-budget productions, however, work has been 
scarce for union members because of a strict 
boycott by the major film studios, who yanked 
their productions from Manhattan after the fold- 
ing of NABET 15 and are seeking new conces- 
sions from IA. Negotiations between IA and the 
studios have been on-again, off-again, with ques- 
tions about overtime remaining the chief sticking 
point. 



Public Television International, the international 
sales distributor of PBS programs that opened its 
doors in February 1990, is expanding its presence 
in the Pacific basin ["Video Publishing via Public 



Vito Russo 

Photo: Lee Snider 

TV," June 1 990] . A ne w office opened the first of 
this year in Hong Kong under the direction of 
Celia Chong, who formerly worked in the New 
York headquarters. 



In an effort to attract foreign filmmakers to Berlin, 
as well as keep local film workers employed, the 
Berlin Film Subsidy Commission has set aside 
2 1 .5-million Deutsch marks ($ 14-million) for film 
projects based in the city ["Spring Takes Time: 
Films from East Germany and Poland," October 
1990]. The earmarked funds will be dispersed as 
grants in preproduction, specialized exhibition 
(e.g., festivals), and script development, as well as 
loans. 



Britain's Channel 4 has suffered a setback as a 
result of the changes in broadcast law, which now 
requires the channel to sell its own advertising 
["Sequels," April 1990 and "European Broad- 
casting: New Rules, Old Game," March 1988]. 
Because of the slump in this year's ad sales, 
Channel 4 is cutting its program funds by seven 
percent. This is the first time the program budget 
has not increased beyond inflation (now running 
at 10 percent) since the channel started up in 1982. 
It remains to be seen how these cuts will affect 
local independent producers, who supply most of 
the channel's original programming. Acquired 
programs and shows cofinanced with other broad- 
casters will play a larger part in future program- 
ming. But at the same time the channel insists that 
a record proportion of its budget will go to com- 
missions for independent work. 



David Ross has been appointed the new director 
of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ross 
has a lengthy track record in video art as a curator 
and critic. Prior to his most recent position as 
director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in 
Boston, Ross was chief curator and deputy direc- 
tor at the Long Beach Museum of Art, chief 
curator and assistant director at the University Art 
Museum at Berkeley, and curator of video art at 
the Emerson Museum of Art. Judith Trojan has 
left her position as editor of Sightlines to assume 
responsibilities as the director of marketing and 
promotion for Cinema Guild. Roberto Bedoya 
has resigned as executive director of Los Angeles 
Contemporary Exhibitions in order to resume his 
activities as a poet and playwright. 



LIGHTING 



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pool of reporters in the Middle 
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MARCH 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 1 



IN3IGHTS FROM IRAN 

Postrevolutionary Films oil View 



PERSHENG VAZIRI 



During the past few years we have witnessed a 
resurgence of Iranian films at international festi- 
vals. At Locarno, Nantes, Rotterdam, Toronto, 
and elsewhere Iranian features have won prizes, 
prompting other festivals to hold retrospectives of 
related work. Some of these films have trickled 
into the United States, but their presence here has 
been less striking than in Europe. They are pro- 
grammed by US festivals because of the critical 
acclaim they receive in Europe, which has always 
been culturally more aware of artistic endeavors 
in the so-called Third World, but also, one might 
suspect, because of the possibility of getting a 
glimpse of a country that has become associated 




One of Iran's most prominent filmmakers, is 
Amir Naderi, a leading figure in the Iranian 
New Wave movement of the seventies. His 
Water, Wind, Dust almost wordlessly tells the 
story of a boy's hardships after the village's 
source of water dries up. 

Courtesy Film Center/School of the Art Institute of Chicago 



with terrorism, fundamentalism, and fanaticism. 
Unfortunately, quite often the critical attention 
these films receive seems to focus more on the 
culture they represent than the work itself. 

For instance, last year's New Directors/New 
Films series at the Museum of Modern Art in New 
York City featured Amir Naderi 's stunning Wa- 
ter, Wind, Dust. In this case, the implication that 
Naderi is a "new director" or that this film was a 
new production was misleading. Naderi is one of 
Iran's most prominent filmmakers, a leading fig- 
ure in the Iranian New Wave movement of the 
seventies. His 1975 Tangsir has been widely 
exhibited and received accolades worldwide. The 
Runner, completed after Wind, Water, Dust, gar- 
nered even greater recognition in Europe and was 
given limited exposure in the US. 

Recently, however, a few retrospectives de- 
voted to Iranian cinema have been organized by 



universities and cultural organizations with the 
help of Iran's film export institution, the Farabi 
Foundation. An ambitious and successful series 
of Iranian films made after the revolution of 1 979, 
entitled a Decade of Iranian Cinema: 1 980- 1 989, 
was exhibited at the Melnitz Theater at the Uni- 
versity of California, Los Angeles' Film Archives 
in the spring of 1990. Two of Iran's most re- 
nowned filmmakers, Dariush Mehrjuii and Abbas 
Kiarostamy, were present for screenings and 
answered questions from the audience. The idea 
for the UCLA series was initiated by film scholar 
and festival curator Hamid Naficy when he be- 
came aware of the many favorable reviews of 
recent Iranian films in European markets. After 
viewing some 40 films supplied by the Farabi 
Foundation, he chose 18 features and several 
shorts. 

Los Angeles provided an ideal locale for this 
event, since a large number of Iranians moved 
there after the revolution. The festival proved 
extremely popular with members of the Iranian 
community, who are homesick and eager for any 
contacts with their home country. News of the 
festival circulated rapidly, fueled by controversy. 
A group of exiled Iranian filmmakers and actors 
staged a boycott protesting the involvement of the 
Iranian government, through the Farabi Founda- 
tion. Since the event was actually an independent 
endeavor organized and sponsored by the univer- 
sity, however, the boycott did not gain wide sup- 
port. Indeed, all screenings sold out hours before 
show time. Unfortunately, many eager fans — 
including most non-Iranians who couldn't com- 
pete for seats with Iranians willing to stand in line 
all day to buy a ticket for a favorite film — were not 
able to see the films, prompting the university to 
promise a reprise in the future. 

Fortunately, a more diverse audience will be 
able to see some of these films in other venues. A 
series of postrevolutionary Iranian films was 
curated by the Film Center at the School of the Art 
Institute of Chicago on behalf of the Farabi Foun- 
dation. It premiered in September 1990 at the 
American Film Institute in Washington, D.C., and 
toured to Minneapolis, Columbus, Berkeley, 
Philadelphia, Cambridge, Rochester, and Syra- 
cuse. 

Like the products of any active film sector, the 
films that comprise these programs reflect a vari- 
ety of styles and genres that make a comprehen- 
sive definition of contemporary Iranian cinema 
impossible. The only generalization possible is 
that, in accordance with revolutionary Islamic 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



ideals, many of these works are concerned with 
social issues and are not centered on an individu- 
alistic perspective. In other respects, they range 
from documentary-style realism to poetic expres- 
sionism and theatrical hyperrealism. 

In terms of its international success, Naderi's 
Water, Wind, Dust was the most prestigious film 
in the UCLA program. Produced in 1985, the film 
could not be seen in Iran until 1989, perhaps 
because Naderi emigrated to the west after its 
completion. However, upon release the film 
immediately met with laudatory reviews and 
awards. Set in the harsh desert of eastern Iran, 
Water, Wind, Dust depicts an actual catastrophe 
which occurred when a lake dried up in the arid 
region and people were forced to abandon their 
homes. The film ' s central character is a young boy 
who returns to his village, beset by disaster, to find 
and help his family. Words are sparsely used, and 
the dominant sound is that of relentless dry wind- 
storms. Similarly, the film is practically mono- 
chromatic, tinted throughout by sandy beige. As 
his search for his family becomes more desperate, 
the boy's story of survival moves from stark 
realism to lyrical metaphors that suggest a life of 
struggle. 

One of the strengths of Iranian cinema lies in 
children's films. An example in the UCLA series 
was Where Is My Friend's Home?, by Kiarostamy. 
Kiarostamy, who is known for his sensitive stud- 
ies of the social problems of children, dissolves 
the border between documentary and fiction in 
films that use nonactors to tell stories from a 
child's point of view. In Where Is My Friend's 
Home ? Kiarostamy relates the account of a school- 
boy who is determined to help a friend but acci- 
dentally brings the friend's notebook home. Vari- 
ous insensitive adults inadvertently block his 
efforts to return the notebook; however, the tena- 
cious young hero finds another way to help his 
friend. Kiarostamy shot this film in a small village 
in northern Iran, a place where the populace has 
not been exposed to television or movies, freeing 
the local, untrained actors from preconceived 
notions about performance. With effective use of 
close-ups and silent moments emphasizing poign- 
ant facial expressions, he communicates the 
children's inner feelings and dilemmas. Dialogue 
is so sparse that it is raised to the level of poetry. 

Two other films in this series that are disparate 
in style and execution but nonetheless well within 
the tradition of Iranian cinema — individuals vic- 
timized by social malaise beyond their control 
treated in an expressionistic manner — are Beyond 
the Fire, by the newcomer Kianoush Ayyari, and 
Maybe Some Other Time, by veteran of Iranian 
theater and film Bahrain Beyzaii. Beyond the Fire 
is set in the oil fields of southern Iran, where a 
torrid climate is accentuated by images of the fires 
burning in the oil refineries and the angry emo- 
tions that erupt between two feuding brothers. Set 
in prerevolutionary times, the brothers argue over 
the profits from the sale of their home to a refinery 
run by US oil companies. The western presence 
and the corrupting character of western financial 



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interests disturb the balance of the region, sym- 
bolized by such traditional characters as a mute 
milk vendor and her spunky younger brother. The 
stark, harsh beauty of the film is enhanced by fiery 
cinematography, combined with the repeated high- 
pitched, argumentative voices of the brothers and 
the fire roaring on the soundtrack. The various 
elements then effectively combine in an expres- 
sionist depiction of the difficulties specific to this 
region in prerevolutionary times. 

For women, social malaise can be particularly 
acute, but treatment of this issue on film has been 
especially problematic in Islamic Iran. According 
to Islamic doctrine, the purity of women is di- 
rectly linked to a healthy social order. Conse- 
quently, codes of dress and behavior greatly re- 
strict the depiction of women on screen. For 
example, women are required to wear veils when- 
ever shown, even when alone or with a spouse. 
Women are not allowed to be touched by a man, 
and at times men and women playing husbands 
and wives have been forced to marry for the 
duration of shooting. Despite this limitation, 
Beyzaii's Maybe Some Other Time features a fe- 
male protagonist (played by the charismatic Susan 
Taslimi). This unusual character suffers from 
anxiety and stress, causing her husband to suspect 
that she is deceiving him. However, in his search 
for the truth, he discovers instead her tragic past. 

Looking at the social ills of postrevolutionary 
Iran from a bold Islamic revolutionary perspec- 
tive are the films of prolific and talented director 
Mohsen Makhmalbaf. An Islamic revolutionary 
and active militant during the prerevolutionary 
period, Makhmalbaf remains an ideological leader 
of the new Iranian cinema. This becomes evident 
in works like Wedding of Blessed, whose protago- 
nist, the shell-shocked photographer Haji. experi- 
ences difficulty readjusting to life in Tehran after 
his experiences in the war with Iraq. His Islamic 
ideals contradict the widespread corruption he en- 
counters in the metropolis, which he finds offen- 
sive in light of the sacrifices made by war martyrs 
who gave their lives to bring Islamic purity to the 
country. In the company of his active and vocal 
fiance — a representative of the ideal new Islamic 
woman, at once deeply religious, virtuous, and 
socially vigilant — Haji embarks on the produc- 
tion of aphoto essay about the problems facing the 
city. Out of the numerous resulting photographs — 
scenes of hunger, homelessness. and drug addic- 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



Mohsen Makhmalbaf, director of The 
Peddler (pictured) and Wedding of 
Blessed, remains an ideological leader of 
the new Iranian cinema. 

Courtesy Film Center/School of the Art Institute of 
Chicago 

tion — his editor chooses to use a benign picture of 
a flower, demonstrating the lack of interest in 
addressing social problems. Again, the charac- 
terization assigned to the female lead in this film 
is striking. Despite her position as her fiance's 
partner in the photo project, however, she enacts 
the reactionary role associated with women — 
attempting to convince him to compromise his 
idealism. 

Three films from Mehrjuii, a brilliant film- 
maker who began his career in the seventies with 
his award-winning The Cow, were also included 
in the UCLA series. His most recent film, Har- 
moun, is perhaps the most thought-provoking and 
startling work to emerge from Islamic Iran. Har- 
moun tells the story of a young intellectual who 
holds a prosaic office job while simultaneously 
working on his philosophy dissertation. His al- 
ready frantic life unravels when his wife an- 
nounces that she wants to leave him. Influenced 
by his thesis on Kierkegaard, he sets about trying 
to understand the meaning of his life. Unlike 
Makhmalbaf s work and most other products of 
Iranian cinema that focus on social issues, Har- 
moun is premised on the individual. The unique 
approach appears to be successful, since the film 
won the first prize at Tehran's annual Fajr Film 
Festival and enjoyed immense popularity with the 
Iranian public. 

The variety and strength of these Iranian films 
point to the healthy recent liberalization of culture 
that has been lacking in the past. Before the revo- 
lution, strict censorship prohibited themes that 
criticized the social and political environment in 
the Shah's Iran. Added to this was a national film 
industry motivated by quick profit, which pro- 
duced light films with abundant sex and macho 
appeal and imported a large number of foreign 
films to satisfy more critical tastes. The New 
Wave movement in the seventies posed an un- 
precedented answer to the frivolity of Iranian 
cinema, representing broad interest in the search 
for Iranian identity. Due to the international praise 
these films received, they continued to be pro- 
duced in the stifling times of the Shah. After the 
revolution, once the Islamic government took 
hold, films were censored in an extreme manner 
meant to discourage any western and non-Islamic 
influence. Only in the past five years have the 
stringent restrictions loosened, allowing estab- 
lished filmmakers like Mehrjuii to experiment 
with the limits of censorship. The international 
critical praise this recent work has won, may 
allow this movement to develop and flourish in 
Iran today. 

Persheng Vaziri is a Boston-based filmmaker and 
film programmer. 



The Gulf War: 
Alternative Media AcrrvrnES 

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting: 
Information on mass media reporting; 
contact list of major news media outlets; 
175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010; 
212/633-6700 

Gulf Crisis TV Project Produced two-hour 
television series; soliciting tapes and 
information for programming of 
alternative media on public TV and public 
cable, as well as to community groups; 
339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; 
212/228-6370 

Labor Beat Producing public access 
cable programs in Chicago; Bob Hercules, 
Larry Duncan; 312/850-1300 

Media Network: Clearinghouse for 
independent media on militarism; 121 
Fulton St, New York, NY 10038; 212/ 
619-3455 

Peacemakers: SANE/Freeze cable TV 
series on 20 systems in Southern 
California; John Owen, Box 521, Los 
Angeles, CA 90053: 213/223-2966 

Paper Tiger TV West Producer of weekly 
updates on anti-war activism in the Bay 
Area on public access cable; Jesse Drew, 
2690 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110; 
415/558-0200 

This list will be expanded as we obtain 
information about additional activities. 
Call Martha Gever: 212/473-3400. 



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MARCH 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



The Pre-histories of Cinema 



T. ZUMMER 



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c)awr\, Fixing 

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Slow ZOetrape, anci*ert Mongolia 
16 THE INDEPENDENT 




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MARCH 1991 





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18 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 




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Applica+iorv of FVincipkj »f Fluid Mechanics +o Early Steady • Cam "Technology 

THE INDEPENDENT 19 



KAREN ROSENBERG 




oving 
Picture 
Machines 

Flip Books, 
Phenakistascopes, 
Zoetropes, and 
Other Optical 
Inventions 




Excerpt from 7". V. Dinner, by Ruth Hayes 
(Seattle: Real Comet Press, 1981) 



A. 



LLMOST ALL HISTORIES OF THE CINEMA PRESENT FLIP BOOKS AND OTHER 

optical devices based on the persistence of vision* as forerunners of film, 
if they mention them at all. Optical apparatuses like the zoetrope, the 
mutascope, and other -opes are generally considered curious, antique 
exoticisms that have been superseded by "real" cinema. This despite the fact 
that artists continue to make flip books and optical devices. Perhaps one 
reason for this attitude is that many historians tend to see cinema as a branch 
of technology, where new inventions constitute a new stage of progress, 
rather than as an art form in which past forms, materials, and themes are 
available for reuse and reworking. 

The same problem can be seen in the marketing of optical devices as 
precinema toys. Reproductions of old designs foster the notion that these are 
historical items, rather than a living branch of art. Even the term optical toys 
bespeaks a condescending attitude towards a type of animation as parlor 
entertainment. On the one hand, it is commendable that some children's 
museums and toy shops sell flip books and, occasionally, other devices 
based on the persistence of vision. But these are media capable of greater 
sophistication and artistry than may be immediately apparent from the glut 
of simple hit-the-ball sequences for sale. In Boston, I've seen flip books 
based on local landmarks, like Kevin Hubbard's Kenmore at Night, which 
features a neon Citgo sign in action, and David Stoff 's flip books of Red Sox 
players in motion, shot by him in 16mm and reproduced on paper. 

I admit that I came to this topic with the idea that animators make flip 
books at the beginning of their careers, to leam and perfect techniques and, 
later, to try out sequences in their films. Only slowly, after talking with 
animators, did I rethink this profilm bias. Like many truisms, my theory 
wasn't completely off-base. Lisa Crafts, a New York animator, told me that 
she worked on flip books in her late teens and early twenties while waiting 
for buses and during her coffee breaks at office temp jobs. White pads so 
cheap you can see the drawing underneath are more transportable than a 
light table and, therefore, good for experimenting at odd moments. Says 
Crafts, "I used them the way people use a Walkman now — to create your 
own space in an atmosphere foreign to you." 

Many film courses start students off with flip books (less often, zoe- 
tropes) before handing them a camera. But there's also movement in the 
other direction (from films to optical devices) in the world of animation. 
Crafts made flip books from some of her films when invited to contribute 
to an animation art show. And Ruth Hayes of Seattle, Washington, told me 
that she began to make flip books as a response to the problem of distributing 
independent animation. Her two films were sitting on the shelf after they'd 
done the festival circuit, so she made flip books from the artwork from each. 
A show of art by animators at a Seattle gallery in 1979 provided her with a 
deadline for producing 50 copies of each book. In the next few years, she 
self-published flip books that weren't tied to any films, selling them at an 
artists' Christmas store. 



* When a rapid succession of still pictures passes before our eyes, our brain retains 
each image longer than it is actually seen. The persistence of images in the brain 
creates the illusion that movement is perceived — hence the term persistence of vision. 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 




Excerpts from Sheherezade, by Janet Zweig and Holly 
Anderson (Long Island City, NY: Sheherezade, 1 988) 



the tar bank stood a yearling doe. She wai 
ace in that world. The woman picking ber 
e froze as the doe crossed the creek. The w 
on of the hooves on that gravel bed. Like 
rh heels. They climbed together across the 
other. She thought: I can hear the creek a 
tenses. In slow motion they rolled head ov 
a told. 

could have been a dream that came visiting 
mieone as unknown as the moon. It was p] 



Hayes now uses flip books as her main artistic medium, an unusual 
position that creates some difficulties. "In applying for grants to do this 
work," she wrote recently, "I've often been advised to categorize myself as 
a visual artist, not a 'media artist.' Since juries for visual arts grants usually 
make their preliminary cuts based on viewing applicants' slides, my flip 
books were first seen as two-dimensional photos. The juries literally were 
in the position of judging my books by their covers." 

Hayes' works often have a philosophical point atypical for flip books. 
From the social criticism about the mass media in TV Dinner (a television 
devours a child) and in The Flipbook of Revelations (a TV evangelist turns 
into a symbol of nationalistic war) to the unabashed sensuality of Hot Licks 
and Frogs in Heat, these are decidedly not kiddie fare. The uncontrolled, 
animal nature of human sexuality is one of her major themes, present in 
Animal Husbandry, Leash Law, and Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, My 
Cat's in Heat and I'm Thinking of You. But Hayes is also distinguished by 
her use of texts in the flip books Birthrite and Flip Book of the Dead, which 
must be read as well as flipped. In flip books, Hayes points out, viewers can 
exercise control over the viewing process. "She or he can look at the book 
more than once. Sequences can be reread to catch meaning or imagery 
missed the first time." These are possibilities she often exploits in her works. 

The idea of mixing words and flips has been tried by generations of 
schoolchildren on the margins of their textbooks, and some authors/anima- 
tors have made ingenious use of this tradition. Max Born's explanation of 
modern physics called The Restless Universe, reprinted by Dover Publica- 
tions, flips both front to back and the reverse. "Film No. VI," for example, 
is "Motion of the Electron in the Hydrogen Atom." Born's introductory note 
to the reader teaches the art of intelligent flipping, "First run through each 
'film' quickly, then more slowly, and watch carefully exactly what hap- 
pens." 

Janet Zweig, who told me about Bom's volume, has carried the interac- 
tion between text and word farther, so that one doesn't illustrate the other. 
In her Sheherezade, for instance, five stories within stories (by Holly 
Anderson) are arranged sequentially on the right-hand pages. Each tale 
begins as a small, illegible dark spot within a letter of the alphabet from the 
preceding section. As you flip the pages, the text becomes larger, until it 
outgrows the page and gives birth to the next story. Meanwhile, the left-hand 
pages also flip, showing the photographic image of a woman taking off her 
dress to reveal another dress underneath. Her last move is the same as her 
first, and this cycle, too, is repeated five times. The idea of infinite repetition 
gives the book its unity. "I used the flip book form because it suited the 
content," Zweig told me. Much larger and longer than a traditional flip book. 
Sheherezade can perhaps best be described as a piece of conceptual art. In 
fact, Zweig has produced artists' books since 1975 and came to flip books 
from that tradition rather than from animation. 

The term artists' books can describe many contemporary flip books. I 
find it useful because it draws attention to the drawings and the conceptions 
of flip books, as well as to their collectibility, and downplays their status as 
kids' toys. It's expensive to buy a eel, not to mention a film, by a well-known 
animator, but flip books by such international names as Peter Foldes, 
Shamus Culhane, Yoji Kuri, and Zdenek Miler are available from the 
Cinematheque Queb6coise, the only remaining works of a 12-volume set 
published in 1967 for a World Retrospective of Animation Cinema. New 
York City animator George Griffin says that this series inspired him to do 



MARCH 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



Not Just Another 
Underground Film 



September marks the tenth anniversary of Masstransiscope, the large-scale 
animation created by filmmaker Bill Brand on the walls of the abandoned 
Myrtle Street BMT station at the juncture where the B, Q, and D trains 
ascend onto the Manhattan Bridge from the Brooklyn side. During these 
years, millions of Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) passengers have 
seen the 20-second movie which, however brief, comes complete with a 
reverse angle cut at the end. 

Brand, who has made about 30 films which roll from the reel in the more 
or less expected manner, was inspired by boyhood experiences to produce 
an animation that reversed the process of movies. Riding on trains as a child 
always made him think of movies. "It's the same thought process," he says. 
But it wasn't until a quarter of a century later that the filmmaker/artist began 
to analyze how he could build a movie that stood still while the viewer 
rushed past. 

The technology for Masstransiscope is simple, harkening back to the 
zoetrope, a tum-of-the-cenrury device consisting of a cylinder lined with 
images and slits through which the viewer can see figures — juggling 
clowns, galloping horses, and the like — animated into movement when the 
cylinder spins. Masstransiscope, a giant, linear zoetrope, is composed of 
228 painted panels, with a light bulb opposite each. The series of bulbs is 
embedded next to a wood frame with slits, located five feet from the images. 
This serves as the piece's shutter or animation barrier between images and 




passengers. The subway piece is really a 300-foot-long box, six feet tall and 
five feet deep; the image panels are only 15 inches wide and three feet tall. 

Brand remarks, "This is baking-soda-and-vinegar science. When I started 
the project, I imagined strobe lights that would be timed with the train. That 
turned out to be immensely expensive and complicated." He originally 
estimated that Masstransiscope would cost several thousand dollars and 
take two weeks to complete. Instead, the project took three years and 
$60,000, which was raised by the piece's sponsor, Creative Time, a 
nonprofit group that seeks out unusual public spaces in New York City to 
display unique artworks. Almost three years passed during negotiations 
with all the departments of the MTA. 

In the meantime, Brand was in his studio building a model that simulated 
the sightlines and speed of a moving subway train. One of the early 
questions he had to answer was how to get sufficient light through a very thin 
slit that would not only illuminate the image but penetrate train windows, 
which, at that time, were heavily smeared with graffiti. He eventually 
decided to paint the images on plastic scotch light material, which sends 
most of the light back to its source; this is the same highly retroreflective 
surface used for street signs and front projection screens. Brand's assistant, 
painter Theresa De Salvio, who followed his original drawings but added 
touches of her own, painted the images with a transparent silk screen ink that 
the filmmaker had discovered. The long- lasting ink, guaranteed for 1 years 



his first flip book, which consisted of 200 pages held together with two large 
posts. But Griffin is not only a producer of independent animation in flip 
book form, like his satirical Urban Renewal, which combines "live action" 
and drawings. His company, Metropolis Graphics, also published "kinetic 
books" by independent animators. "Flip books by contemporary animation 
artists aren't comic-oriented or corny," he observes. The books by Paul 
Glabicki, Sara Petty, Kathy Rose, Roger Kukes, and Tony Eastman that are 
still available from the series illustrate Griffin's point: They also don't fall 
into the cute gag category. 

Often flip books by animation artists study changes in perspective. Such 
changes are dramatic in Patrick Jenkins' flip books Play Ball! and In the 
Wink of an Eye. Jenkins, who has been involved in experimental film, 
painting, and drawing in Toronto, received a grant from the university 



where he was teaching to publish four flip books. "I try to make an 
interesting book and don't gear myself towards any market," he told me. "I 
thought I was making artists' books, but was pleased when they reached a 
wider audience." 

Leta Stathacos, president of the Buffalo, New York, company called Art 
Objects Unlimited, told me that she represents Jenkins as a small press that 
produces "small artists ' books in motion, with a flip book quality." She takes 
them to the museum section of the New York Gift Show and the juried trade 
show of the Museum Store Association. "We think about gaps in the 
marketplace," Stathacos says. The indeterminate place of flip books in the 
market is proven by the fact that they can be found — ornot found, as the case 
may be — at stores for artists' books (like Printed Matter in lower Manhat- 
tan), at shops that handle quirky gifts (like Mythology on New York's Upper 




>^ 









22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



on the side of a truck in the desert, was specifically developed for use with 
the reflecting material. Masstransiscope uses fluorescent light bulbs to 
maximize the light hitting the images. 

The piece was subjected to a series of tests to measure every aspect. Here 
again Brand deconstructed the process and found a seemingly backwards 
solution. "I made this crazy model that re-reverses the process, because I 
didn't want to build a little train that I had to ride," he says. Brand made a 
test object that worked like a tape recorder — a one-foot-high band that ran 
on rollers around the inside edge of a box. The band had slits that were 
proportional to the size he would be using in the actual piece. He installed 
a motor so that he could draw images and look through the slits, checking 
the effect at different speeds comparable to those traveled by subway trains. 

The construction of Masstransiscope presented some perplexing visual 
issues, according to Brand. He had noticed that zoetrope images seen 
through the slits look skinnier than the actual images. Those on the model 
piece looked wider. And the images grew in size the farther the viewer 
moved from them. "I had convinced all these people that I knew what I was 
doing, but I didn't know if I increased the scale whether something drastic 
would happen," he recalls. 

He then sought the advice of a perceptual psychologist who provided a 
rational basis for what he was seeing. The psychologist explained two 
opposing ideas: the viewer actually assembles the image together in her or 



Detail from Masstransiscope, a 20-second animation by 
filmmaker Bill Brand, which is installed on a subway tunnel 
wall like an unfurled zoetrope. 

Courtesy Creative Time 

his brain; also, the image is, in a fashion, laid on the retina. The latter theory 
allowed Brand to derive a formula for calculating how large the images 
would appear at any given distance. The dimensions of the images could be 
calculated by measuring how far the slits are from the image in relationship 
to how far the eye is from the slits. 

The images of Masstransiscope are still as bright today as they were 10 
years ago, although many of the fluorescent lights have been removed. For 
20 seconds, MTA passengers travel along the movie wall watching lines 
wrapping around circles being squeezed into explosions which shoot 
toward the viewer. Down the track, these shapes soar through a tunnel and 
are transformed into a human balloon which merges with a mushroom and 
blasts off into a close-up that cuts back across all the recent past shapes. 

DEBREH GILBERT 
Debreh Gilbert is a freelance writer who covers various cultural topics. 



West Side and Joie de Vivre in Cambridge, Massachusetts), at toy stores, at 
museum shops, and at bookstores. "Marketing flip books was the bane of my 
existence," remembers Griffin. "Getting the boxes out of your loft is a full- 
time occupation." 

Optical devices — or toys — represent an even harder-to-place item in the 
market. Even the kaleidoscope — one of the most well known since it expe- 
rienced a renaissance in the seventies — has to be searched out, because the 
craftspeople who produce them lack widespread distribution. Cozy Baker's 
self-published book Through the Kaleidoscope. . . and Beyond offers an il- 
lustrated guide to the makers and their restrained or baroque designs, which 
can help the would-be buyer find the desired type. And the kaleidoscope is 
a piece of cake to find compared to a zoetrope. 

What's a zoetrope? That's the cylinder with vertical slots that spins on a 




Excerpts from Urban 
Renewal, by George 
Griffin (Seattle: Real 
Comet Press, 1989) 



turntable. Through the slots the viewer sees a paper strip with a sequence of 
pictures on it. Because of the perceptual effect of persistence of vision, it 
seems as if the pictures are animated inside the cylinder when it spins. 
According to Roger Kukes' The Zoetrope Book (an easy-to-read self- 
published manual for making zoetropes and animated strips), "by the mid 
'70s, zoetropes were re-appearing in countless schools, at New Age markets 
and fairs, in swanky Manhattan art galleries, on college campuses, and in 
science museums from coast to coast." 

By the time I looked in the early nineties, though, there were precious few 
contemporary zoetropes around. In England, I found a solar-driven zoetrope 
that can also be powered with electric light, made by the John Adams 
Trading Company, which manufactures other optical toys. The National 
Museum of Photography, Film, and Television in Bradford, West York- 
shire, puts out a paper zoetrope kit that is sold in various British museum 
shops. In the US, however, my search yielded few manufacturers. Van Cort 
Instruments of Northampton, Massachusetts, a kaleidoscope maker, pro- 
duces one, as does Andy Voda of Optical Toys in Putney, Vermont. The 
problem both face is cutting the slots the proper width and evenly spaced so 
the moving image doesn't appear out of focus. Van Cort advertises that its 
"Zoetrope's slotted drum is meticulously wrapped with high grade leather" 
and spins "on a solid brass and mahogany pedestal" with a "felted base." 
Voda tends towards the handmade look. His zoetropes are handheld (his 
invention), with wooden drums that rotate on a lazy-susan. 

But the major difference is probably in the imagery. Manufacturers tend 
to sell reproductions of nineteenth-century bands, thereby creating the 
impression that the zoetrope is in a state of arrested development. However, 
Voda makes strips that can be colored by hand (like his flip books Celestial 
Surf and Bubblefly, both subtitled A Coloring Flipbook). and he is energeti- 
cally looking for new strip material. Not only does he copy antique designs. 



MARCH 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



^^■^H 



he is talking with various museums about reproduc- 
ing strips by Muybridge and others and to indepen- 
dent animators about gathering their zoe trope strips 
into a package. 

Indeed, animators have long been attracted to the 
possibilities presented by the zoetrope. In 1979, 
Kukes put together the First (and the last) Interna- 
tional Zoetrope Strip Making Competition in Port- 
land, Oregon, in which Hayes participated. "I used 
the $50 prize money to make a zoetrope, so I could 
see what my drawings looked like," she reports. Her 
flip books TV Dinner and Gluttony were once zoetrope strips, and her use 
of 12-page cycles in flip books may be influenced by the rhythm of the 
zoetrope. Hayes, like other animators, has also used zoetropes to teach 
animation. Kukes points out that they are especially good for schools that 
can't finance higher-tech equipment. In his book, he also notes how they can 
be used to create sophisticated, experimental animation. 

Ken O'Connell of the art department of the University of Oregon, for 
example, made a zoetrope with progressively curved, rather than straight, 
slits, so that a strip with identical drawings would appear to move. He' s also 




produced one zoetrope with three-dimensional clay 
figures pinned or glued in various positions on the 
inside wall of the drum. O'Connell told me that he 
is planning to film the results of his experiments so 
they can be seen by more than one person at a 
time — another example of the interplay between 
optical devices and cinema. 

And then there are optical devices that are even 
more obscure, like the thaumatrope, a disk with 
different pictures on each side, attached to two 
pieces of string: when the string is twirled and the 
disk rotates, the images seem to merge to form one picture. For example, a 
bird and a cage becomes a bird in a cage. Voda makes one, and a French 
package called Trompe I'Oeil ou les Plaisirs de Jocko is sold at Joie de 
Vivre. Then there's the phenakistascope, a disk with slots near the circum- 
ference that spins vertically on a handle: when you look into a mirror 
through the slots, the drawings on the rotating disk appear to move in the 
mirror. Even the major books that describe these devices — like Martin 
Quigley'sMagicShadows, Henry Hopwood'sL/v//jgP/crwres,C.W.Ceram's 
Archaeology of the Cinema, and Bud Weitz's Paper Movie Machines — are 





Phenakistascope 



Drawings by T. Zummer 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



out of print. In Britain, John Adams Toys puts out an Optical Illusions Pad 
with these and other paper devices to cut out, and the National Museum of 
Photography, Film, and Television sells a phenakistascope kit with repro- 
ductions of nineteenth-century disks. Voda, always energetic, produces two 
models of phenakistascopes, one with paper disks (blank and replicas) that 
clip onto an eight-inch wooden disk, and the other with eight-inch cardboard 
disks (including contemporary designs). Here again, new designs are the 
sign of a living — and not merely historical — art form. 

Only a few people have tried to resurrect the mutascope, a prefilm device 
reminiscent of a Rolodex file, which consists of cards (generally) mounted 
on a rotating cylinder and then viewed in motion. In fact, animator Robert 
Breer recalls that he looked at various Rolodex models when he built 
mutascopes, but eventually invented his own device: a dense spring coil 
which holds notched cards upright so that they radiate around a drum turned 
by a crank. The sequence produced is continuous, with no beginning or end. 
A 1958 model was three feet in diameter, in a metal enclosure, and he also 
made small ones in the sixties, all designed as sculptural items. Part of their 
appeal, he says, was the use of such a huge apparatus to deliver a small 
image. Distribution? "I gave one to John Cage, but he never picked it up," 
Breer remarked dryly. 

It's probably appropriate to end an article on contemporary optical 
devices with Breer, who has been making flip books and films based on 
them since the fifties, mostly with abstract shapes. In 1988 he and William 
Wegman made a music video for Blue Monday, a British band recorded by 
Warner Brothers, where members of the group page through a heavy 
cardboard flip book; animated sequences from the book also appear. Breer 
then sent the book as a Christmas card, with a beveled edge so it was easier 
to flip. Music video, Christmas cards.... All this shows that devices based 
on persistence of vision are more than historical curiosities or classroom ex- 
ercises. I now look at them not just for what they reveal about the 
precinematic past but to see how contemporary animators put images on 
paper into motion. 

Karen Rosenberg writes on film for publications in the US and Western 
Europe. Her recent articles have appeared in e.p.d. film in Germany and the 
Boston Globe. 



publishers and manufacturers 

Kenmore at Night, by Kevin Hubbard: 24 Cogswell Ave. #3, Cambridge, MA 02 140, 
or Box 501, Cambridge, MA 02140; (617) 876-3143. $4.95 plus $1 postage and 
handling. 

David Stoff: 327 Summer St., fl. 3, Boston, MA 022 10; (617) 542-9834. Red Sox flip- 
books out of print, flip-books based on footage from the National Archives in 
preparation. 

Metamor-Flip, by Peter Foldes; Baccanal, by Shamus Culhane; The Room, by Yoji 
Kuri; andlnfidelite, by Zdenek Miler: Cinematheque QueWcoise, Musee du Cinema, 
335 Boul. de Maisonneuve E., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2X 1 K 1 ; (5 14) 842-9763. 
$3 (Canadian) each, including postage. 

Wipes, by Paul Glabicki; Family of Four, by Sara Petty; Booklings. by Kathy Rose; 
Flowering, by Roger Kukes; and Peepin andA-Hidiri , by Tony Eastman: Metropolis 
Graphics, 28 E. 4th St., New York, NY 10003; (212) 677-0630. $4 each plus $1 
postage for the first book and 500 for each additional book. 



Play Ball!, In the Wink of an Eye, A Fishy Tale, and The Magician s Hat, by Patrick 
Jenkins: Patrick Jenkins Flipbooks, 125 Roxborough St. W., Toronto, Ontario, 
Canada M5R 1T9; (416) 964-7571. $3.95 per book plus postage. 

Leta Stathacos, president, Art Objects Unlimited, Inc., 7 Brittany Lane, Buffalo, NY 
14222; (716) 883-8060. 

Through the Kaleidoscope... and Beyond, by Cozy Baker: Beechcliff Books, 100 
Severn Ave., #605, Annapolis, MD 21403; (301) 263-3580. $15 (paper) and $20 
(cloth), plus postage. 

The Zoetrope Book, by Roger Kukes: Klassroom Kinetics, 3758 S.E. Taylor St., 
Portland, OR 97214; (503) 235-0933. $17.45, including postage. 

John Adams Trading Company, Ltd., 32 Milton Park, Milton, Abingdon, Oxon OX 1 4 
4RT, England, makes Colour Spinners for £3.79, Sun-Powered Zoetrope for £1 1.99, 
All Done with Mirrors — Make Your Own Kaleidoscope and Periscope for £4.99, and 
an Optical Illusions Pad for about £4.25. 

National Museum of Photography, Film, and Television, Prince's View, Bradford, 
West Yorkshire, BD5 OTR; tel: (02) 74-727-488, puts out a zoetrope for £1.95, a 
phenakistoscope for £ 1 .99, and a pocket kinetoscope (like a flip-book) for £1 .95, all 
in kits made out of paper. 

The zoetrope by Van Cort Instruments, Inc., 29 Industrial Drive E., Northampton, 
MA 01060; (413) 586-9800, sells for $48 retail; a catalogue with their kaleidoscopes 
is available. 

Andy Voda of Optical Toys, Box 23, Putney, VT 05346; (802) 387-5457, puts out 
zoetropes for $35, plus $3.50 postage, and thaumatropes at $4, plus 50? postage. 
Celestial Surf and Bubblefly are $3 each plus 250 postage. Both models of the 
phenakistascope cost $ 1 5 each plus $2 postage for the first and 500 for each additional 
ordered. Additional disks are available in packages for $5, plus 500 postage. 

Learning Materials Workshop, Inc., 58 Henry St., Burlington, VT; (802) 862-8399, 
makes the Peace Pop Top for $9.80, the Wild Optics top for $9.80, and the Toptical 
top for $1 1.80, all plus $3.65 for shipping. 




Excerpt from T.V. Dinner, by Rum Hayes 
(Seattle: Real Comet Press, 1981) 



MARCH 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 



presents 

SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

FESTIVAL 

Call for Entries 
for 

1991 






Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/TV 

COMMISSION 

Dept. of Economic Development 

H. Lee Dennison Building 

Veterans Memorial Highway 

Hauppauge, New York 11788 

516-360-4800 



This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Kathryn Bowser, director of the FIVF 
Festival Bureau. Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement. Since some details 
change faster than we do, we recommend 
that you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or tapes. 
In order to improve our reliability and 
make this column more beneficial to 
independents, we encourage all film- and 
videomakers to contact the FIVF Festival 
Bureau with their personal festival 
experiences, positive and negative. 



Domestic 

CHARLOTTE FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, May 6- 

12, NC. Independent films & videos from throughout 
US invited to participate in competitive fest awarding 
S3000 in prize money. Features & shorts accepted; cats 
are doc, narrative, experimental & animated. All selected 
entries will be awarded. Screening sites incl. Mint 
Museum of Art, Spirit Sq. Ctr for the Arts, Afro- 
American Council Ctr, Manor Theatre. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 18. Contact: Robert 
West, Mint Museum of Art, 2730 Randolph Rd, 
Charlotte, NC 28207; (704) 337-2000. 

JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, July, CA. Establ. in 1981, 
noncompetitive fest accepts contemporary films w/ 
Jewish subject matter; filmmaker need not be Jewish. 
All genres accepted. No entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm; preview on cassette. Deadline: Apr. 15. Contact: 
Deborah Kaufman/Janis Plotkin, Jewish Film Fest, 2600 
10th St., Berkeley, CA 94710; (415) 548-0556; fax: 
(415) 548-0536. 

MOUNTAINFILM, May 24-27, CO. Competitive fest 
for works on mountain sports & environment. All genres. 
Awards: Best Mountain Spirit Films, Best Moun- 
taineering Film, Best Technical Climbing Film, Best 
Mountain Sports Film, Special Jury Award, Grand Prize 
(Best of Fest). No entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm 
(preferred); 3/4", 1/2", Beta. Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: 
Jim Bedford, Mountainfilm, Box 1088, Telluride, CO 
81435; (303) 728-4123; fax: (303) 728-6933. 

NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL MEDIA MARKET, May 

16-18, CA. Over 300 new undistributed film, video & 
interactive videodisc titles on educational, cultural & 
special interest topics represented at this market held 
during Nat'l Educational Film & Video Fest. All lengths 
accepted. Entry fee: $15 for productions entered in fest 
competition; $50 all others. Deadline: Apr. 7. Contact: 
National Educational Film & Video Festival, 655 
Thirteenth St., Oakland, CA 94612; (415) 465-6885. 

NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF LES- 
BIAN AND GAY FILM (THE NEW FESTIVAL), June 7- 



24, NY. Showcase for all genres of films & videos by, 
for, or about gay men & lesbians, incl. dramatic features 
& shorts, docs & experimental works. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2" (super 8 only if transferred to tape). 
Submit preview entries on 1/2" or 3/4" along w/ SASE 
or $5 shipping & handling fee. Deadline: Mar. 31. 
Contact: New Festival, 568 Broadway, Suite 1 104, New 
York, NY 10012; (212) 966-5656. 

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL FTLM FESTIVAL 
(PHILAFILM), July 24-29, PA. Competitive fest 
programming 75-100 films & videos. Cats: feature, 
short, animation, experimental, super 8, music video. 
Program held at Federal Reserve Bank Auditorium. 
Sponsored by Int'l Producers Assoc. Entry fee: $20- 
100. Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", super 8; preview on 
3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Apr. 15. Contact: Varrell 
Henderson/Larry Small wood, Philadelphia Int'l Film 
Festival, 121 N. Broad St., #618, Philadelphia, PA 
19107; (215) 977-2831; fax: (215) 581-4515. 

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL LESBIAN & GAY 

FILM FESTIVAL, June 21-30, CA. Now in 15th yr, 
competitive fest is 1 of world's largest programs of 
feature, doc & short films & videos by & about lesbians 
& gay men. Held in conjunction w/ annual Lesbian/Gay 
Freedom Celebration. Sponsored by Frameline, nonprofit 
media arts org. which develops & promotes production 
& exhibition of lesbian & gay film/video. Deadline: 
Mar. 15. Contact: Michael Lumpkin, Frameline, Box 
14792, San Francisco, CA 941 14; (415) 861-5245; fax: 
(415)861-1404. 

SINKING CREEK FILM CELEBRATION, June 8-15, 
TN. Leading Southern showcase & competition for ind., 
noncommercial & student films & videos of all lengths, 
now in 22nd yr. $10,000 in cash awards; special awards 
incl. Hubley Animation Award, 2 $500 awards for 
features of special merit, 2 Asheville Cinematheque 
Awards of $ 1 ea. for excellence in doc & experimental 
works. Cats: young film/videomaker (to age 18); college 
film/videomaker (undergrad); ind. film/videomaker; 2 
purchase awards from TN Arts Commission. Held at 
Vanderbilt Univ. Entry fees $15-75, based on length. 
Deadline: Apr. 22. Contact: Mary Jane Coleman, Sinking 
Creek Film Celebration, 1250 Shiloh Rd., Greeneville, 
TN 37743; (615) 638-6524. 

SLICE OF LD7E FILM FESTIVAL, July 12-13, PA. 9th 
annual fest held in conj. w/ Central PA Festival of the 
Arts. Open to observational & doc films & videos which 
depict "special moments of everyday life." Cash awards, 
prizes, invitations to attend public screenings, reception 
& discussion. Narrative works & work over 30 min. not 
accepted. Entry fee: $25. Formats: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: 
Apr. 1. Contact: Lorna Rasmussen, Slice of Life Film & 
Video Showcase, c/o Doc Resource Ctr., 106 Boalsburg 
Rd., Box 909, Lemont, PA 16851; (814) 234-7886. 

STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS, June, CA. Annual 
competition, now in 1 8th yr, for films by college & univ. 
students, completed after Apr. 1, 1990. Works judged by 
Academy members (same as decide Oscars). Students 
must first enter 1 of 7 regional competitions. Winners 
voted on by Academy membership & flown to LA for 
week of activities, incl. meetings w/ industry pros, gala 
dinners, awards reception & presentation. Deadline: 
Apr. 1. Contact: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & 
Sciences, Attn: Student Academy Awards, 8949 Wilshire 
Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; (213) 247-3000. 

SUFFOLK COUNTY FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, June, 
NY. Cats: features, arts & entertainment (theatrical 
films, music video, experimental film/video art. 
animation, performing arts); sales & marketing (ads. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



PR), doc & education; student. Awards: $7,000 in cash, 
scholarships, equipment, incl. Best of Fest Award of 
$1000, WLIW Channel 21 award of $500, Cablevision 
Systems Corp. Award & 1st place awards of $250 & 
plaque in each cat. Entries also considered for paid bdcst 
on Channel 21 Nov. -Apr. series Off-Hollywood. Entry 
fee: $50-75 professional, depending on length; $35 
student. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, 3/4", 1/2". 
Deadline: May 1. Contact: Chris Cook, Suffolk County 
Film & Video Festival, Dennison Bldg., 1 1 th fl., Veterans 
Memorial Highway, Hauppauge, NY 1 1788; (516) 360- 
4800; fax: (516) 360-4888. 

WORKS BY WOMEN FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

October, NY. Held since 1977, fest features ind. films & 
videos made by women, w/ directors invited to speak w/ 
productions. Format: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: Apr. 30. 
Contact: Works by Women, Barnard College Media 
Services, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027-6598; 
(212)854-2418. 



Foreign 



ANNECY ANIMATED FILM FESTIVAL, June 1-6, 
France. Over 3,000 participants attend this major event; 
over 1,000 films from 60 countries expected. 
Programming committees look at fiction films (shorts & 
features) & commissioned films/TV films (educational, 
company, commercials, credits, trailers, animated 
sequences, TV series). Competition section: 5 short 
fiction programs, 5 commissioned film/TV film 
programs, 5 feature film programs. Panorama section: 5 
short fiction programs. Retros, tributes, exhibitions, 
colloquia & seminars planned. Awards: Annecy 91 
Grand Animated Film Prize, 12 other prizes according 
to cat; Fipresci Prize, ASIFA Prize. Related animated 
film market held. Deadline: Mar. 9. Contact: Festival 
Int'l du Cinema d' Animation, B.P. 399, 74013 Annecy, 
Haute-Savoie, France; tel: 50 57 4 1 72; fax: 50 67 8 1 95. 

AUCKLAND FILM FESTIVAL, July 1 2-27, New Zealand. 
Held in conj. w/ Wellington Film Festival & sponsored 
by NZ Federation of Film Societies, fest now in 23rd yr. 
Accepts features, shorts, docs, many of which are selected 
for Wellington fest. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: 
Apr. 30. Contact: Bill Gosden, Auckland Film Festival, 
Box 9544, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand; tel: 644 
850-162; fax: 644 801-7304. 

CAMBRIDGE FILM FESTIVAL, July, England. 
Noncompetitive fest presenting new features, docs, 
shorts, archive reissues & retros. Format: 35mm, 16mm. 
Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: Tony Jones, Cambridge 
Film Festival, 8 Market Passage, Cambridge, England; 
tel: 462666; fax: 462555. 



FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DU FILM DE GRAND 
REPORTAGE DE LAGNY-SUR-MARNE % May 28- 

June 2, France. FTVF will work w/ new French fest 
to collect and arrange prescTeenings of eligible films 
& videos. Competitive fest "dedicated to the glory of 
audiovisual communication." Hosted by town of 
Lagny-sur-Mame, in east suburbs of Paris, fest will 
program films, videos & TV productions providing 
communication links between journalist/reporter/ 
producer& public; also, works that cover major int'l 
events. Awards: Clou d'Or ( 1 st prize) awarded in 2 
cats: magazine & doc. 4 addt'l prizes given to 
medium & feature-length films, TV production, ind. 
production; addt'l prizes for artistic effort incl. 
equipment, cash, film, airline tickets. Length of 
work: 13-60 min. Completion dates: after Jan 1, 



15th Anniversary 



GREAT LAKES 



Call for Entries 

Open to artists from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, 
and Wisconsin. 

Any Independently made, non-commercial film or tape of arty genre may 
be entered. Submissions must be on 1 6mm film, 3/4" U-matic or VHS 
video cassettes. 

Substantial cash prizes awarded solely on basis of excellence- with no 
distinction made between category or format. 



FILM & VIDEO Entry fee: $25 

For an entry form 

Festival ca,lorwrite: 
1976-1991 



DEADLINE: April 10, 1991 
Great Lakes Film & Video 
P.O. Box 413 
Milwaukee, Wl 53201 
(414)229-6971 



CODE 16 

16 MM EDGE NUMBERING 

it Codes Every 16 Frames 

it Prints on All 16 MM Stock 
Including Polyester 

it Clearest, Easiest to Read 
Numerals Anywhere 

Lowest Prices Anywhere 

i,oooft $10.00 

Polyester Track . . _ _ _ 

i,oooft $12.00 

Let CODE 16 Sync up 

your dailies - low rates 

call for information 

496-1118 



Same day service - 
Weekends & rush hours possible 



262 W. 91 st St. 
Monday - Friday 10-5 



16 m/m B&W REVERSAL 

processing & workprints 



16 m/m B&W NEGATIVE 

processing & workprints 



16 m/m VNF 

processing & workprints 



S/8 E160, 7244 & B&W 

processing & workprints 



State of the Art Film 
to Video Transfers 



YALE LABORATORY, INC. 

1509 N. Gordon Street 

Hollywood, CA 90028 

(213) 464-6181 

"We take S/8 and 76 m/m 

Reversal Film Processing 

Very, Very Seriously" 



3/4" off line video editing facilities 

VALKHN VIDEO 

Award winning editing staff available 
Supervising editor Victor Kanef sky 

Sound effects library and sound transfers 
Lok-Box: film sound preparation for video sound mixing 
1600 Broadway, New York 

(212)586-1603 

Twenty years of film expertise brought to video editing 



MARCH 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 






'OST-PRODUCTION | 
TIME=DOLLARS 



Networks and independents 
are utilizing this cost 
effective step to increase 
precision and effeciency in 
editing. Spend a little to get 
a lot. A transcript of your 
audio will increase content 
accuracy, aid in narration 
dubbing, and speed up the 
editing process. Call Pat 
Jackson for professional 
transcripts. (212) 877-1852 I 





' *r ""*M 








AMERICAN 
M ON T A G E 

Bom 

FILM ANDVIDIO 




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CREATIVE PRODUCTION 
AND POST-PRODUCTION 

AFFORDABLE OFFLINE/ 
ONLINE EDITING 

INDEPENDENTS 
AND COMMERCIAL 

At LRP Video 

305 East 47th Street 
NY, NY 10017 
(212) 759-0822 

(Formerly Video Deal) 





The First Annual 



Orlando International Film Festival 




1988 for 13-26 min.; after Jan. 1, 1986 for 26-60 
min. Entry fee: $15, payable to FTVF. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Apr. 20. For 
info & appl, send SASE or call: Kathryn Bowser, 
Festival Bureau, 625 Broadway, 9th fl. New York, 
NY 10012; (212) 473-3400. Fest address: Festival 
International du Film de Grand Reportage, Hotel de 
Ville, 77405 Lagny-sur-Marne Cedex, France; tel: 
011 331 64 30 68 77; fax: 01 1 331 64 30 66 48. 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



HAMBURG LESBIAN AND GAY FILM FESTIVAL, June 

2 1 -29, Germany. Entries must deal w/ homosexuality & 
be under 15 min., completed in last 2 yrs. Held at 
Metropolis Kinop & Cafe Tuc-Tuc. Formats: 16mm, 
super 8, video 8, 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 15. Contact: 
Lesbisch-Schwule Filmtage Hamburg, c/o Dirk Hauska, 
Zeughausstr. 42, 2000 Hamburg 11, Germany; (040) 
3194025. 

MIDNIGHT SUN FTLM FESTIVAL, June 1 2- 1 6, Finland. 
Held in Sodankyla, Lapland, 120 kmN. of Arctic Circle, 
informal, noncompetitive fest, estab. 1986, shows both 
retros of prominent filmmakers who attend as honorary 
guests & selection of new narrative & doc features. No 
entry fee. Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: Midnight Sun 
Film Fest, Box 305, 33101 Tampere, Finland; tel: 358 
31 130034/235681/196149; fax: 358 31 230121. 

MOSCOW INTERNATIONAL FDLM FESTIVAL, July, 
USSR. Major competitive fest, held in odd yrs, alternating 
w/ Karlovy Vary Film Festival in Czechoslovakia. 
Program incl. feature film competition (20 films produced 
in previous 2 yrs), short film competition, out-of-compe- 
tition screenings of newly-made films, exhibition of 
films presented at other int'l fests, retros. Awards: 
Grand Prix, Special Prize, Best Actress/Actor. 
Concurrent film market. Format: 35mm. Deadline: Apr. 
1. Contact: Yuri T. Khodjaev, Sovinterfest, State 
Commission for Cinematography, 10 Khokhlovsky 
Pereulok, Moscow 103009, USSR; tel: 2977645; telex: 
411263 FEST. 

TROIA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CINEMA, 

May 28-June 4, Portugal. Costa Azul, on Portuguese 
peninsula, setting forFLAPF-recognized fest for feature- 
length films, now in 8th yr. Sections: Competition (Offi- 
cial Section), Info, 1st Works, American Independents. 
Man & Environment (doc & fiction) & film market. 
Awards: Gold Dolphin (Grand Prize). Silver Dolphin. 
Bronze Dolphin. Work must be completed after June 
1990. This yr's program incl. tributes to Indian cinema 
& literary works in film. Format: 35mm, 1 6mm; preview 
on 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 31. Contact: Mario Ventura, 
pres./Salvato Menezes, prog, dir., Festival Internacional 
de Cinema de Troia, Troia 2902 Setubal Codex, Portugal; 
tel: (65)44121/44124; fax: (65)44123; telex: 18138.US 
contact: Thomas de La Cal, 500 E. 63rd St., Apt. 10D, 
New York, NY 10021; (212) 421-3099. 

WELLINGTON FILM FESTIVAL, July 5-20, New 
Zealand. Celebrating 20th anniv., noncompetitive, 
invitational fest of new int'l cinema accepts NZ premieres 
of features, docs & shorts: held in conjunction w/ 
Auckland. Combined audiences surpass 130,000. Fest 
has grown to major event in New Zealand, attracting 
several local distributors & exhibitors. Selected films 
from both Auckland & Wellington invited to screen in 
travelling film fest in South Island cities of Christchurch 
& Dunedin. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. Deadline: Apr. 30. 
Contact: Bill Gosden, Wellington Film Festival, Box 
9544, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand; tel: 644 850- 
162; fax: 644 801-7304. 



MARCH 1991 



CLASSIFIED 



Buy ■ Rent ■ Sell 



THINK AHEAD. Room air conditioner for sale. Fried- 
rich Powermiser. 6500 BTU perhr. Energy rating 9.4. In 
great condition. $375. Call Martha: (212) 473-3400 
(AIVF). 

FOR SALE: Complete 16mm Eclair NPR package. 
Excellent cond. Camera, 2 mags, tripod, 95-100 zoom, 
lens, filters, power pack, the works. Must sell. Best 
offer. (212) 645-2374. 

FOR SALE: Ikegami E-series camera w/ many extras 
including 4 on-board batteries, quad charger, portabrace 
carrying case, cables, etc. 2-piece Century wide angle 
lens negotiable. All in excellent condition. (203) 226- 
5289; leave message. 

FOR SALE: Arriflex 16SR, very good condition. 
Angenieux T15-10B, Cine 60 battery belt, hard case. 
$8500.(718)706-7223. 

FOR SWAP: JVC KY-310 3-tube camera (500 hrs) and 
JVC CR-4900 w/TC (200 hrs) all cables, cases & AC for 
Sony industrial 3/4" off-line edit systems w/ monitors. 
Donald (718) 789-8408. 

WANTED: CP, Arri, Aaton, Angenieux, Cooke, Zeiss, 
O'Connor, Miller, Sachtler, Steadicam, Nagra. Call for 
current equipment list. Lens & camera repair, free lens 
evaluation, new & used equipment needs, rentals. 
Whitehouse A/V (805) 498-4177. 

ARRIFLEX 16SR with 2-400' mags, 1 2- 1 20 Angenieux, 
3 batteries, 1 charger, handgrip, case & accessories. 
Excellent condition. Call Ralph at (718) 284-0223. 

FILM EQUIPMENT FOR SALE: Arri, Sachtler, 



Each entry in the Classifieds column has a 
250 character limit & costs $20 per issue. 
Ads exceeding this length will be edited. 
Payment must be made at the time of 
submission. Anyone wishing to run a 
classified more than once must pay for 
each insertion & indicate the number of 
insertions on the submitted copy. Each 
classified must be typed, double-spaced 
& worded exactly as it should appear. 
Deadlines are the 8th of each month, two 
months prior to the cover date, e.g., March 
8 for the May issue. Make check or money 
order — no cash, please — payable to FIVF, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 

O'Connor, Cine 60, Nagra, Colortran, Mole Richardson, 
Moviola & more. Give me a call, I might just have what 
you need. Call Ralph at (718) 284-0223. 



FOR RENT/SALE: 1) Sony 5850 edit system as low as 
$450/week. 2) Betacam as low as $400/day w/ operator 
or Betacam SP rig for sale (half share) for $9,000. 3) Hi- 
8 as low as $50/day w/ refs. (212) 768-1600. 

WANTED BY CINEMATOGRAPHER: Aaton or Am 
SR/BL &/or accessories. Call Chris (212) 781-9762. 

FOR SALE:. Camera, Ikegami HL79A. First class 
condition w/ 12 month warranty on tubes, parts & 
alignment. Misuse voids warranty. References. Max 
(703) 522-7075. 

FOR SALE: Sony broadcast video equipt. BVU-110 
portable 3/4" w/case & time code, $800. Sony BVU-50 
w/ case, $195. Also other video & film production 
equipment. Mike (212) 691-0375. 

FOR SALE: Professional super 8 equip. Beaulieu 7008 
Pro Camera, Mag IV recorder, AT 835 shotgun mic, 2 
gang editing bench, Porta-one mixer, 2 Smith-Victor 
light pkgs. Will sell separately. Scott (601) 268-7702. 

Freelancers 

HESSION-ZIEMAN PRODUCTIONS: Betacam & Beta- 
cam SP field prod, crew for docs, commercials, music 
videos, public relations, dance, etc. Sony BVW507 
camcorder w/ full lighting, sound & grip pkg. 
Experienced D.P. (212) 529-1254. 

THE SCREENPLAY DOCTOR: Professional consultant 
& story analyst for major studios will analyze your 
screenplay or treatment at reasonable rates. Specialty 
indie/art films. (212) 219-9224. 

NEED A WINNING TITLE SONG, written especially for 



GIVE THEM 

PAL 

If they want PAL! I #^mfci 
Why give them a conversion. The Tape House can transfer 
your film to PAL 1" and PAL D-1 for that intercontinental look 
Using Rank's and Sony's Sophisticated Digital Technology you 
can make your film look great all over the world without going 
through quality degrading conversion. Call Mademoiselle 
Michelle Brunwasser at (212) 557-4949 for more information. 




The Tape House 

Editorial Co. 

216 East 45 St. 

New York, New York 10017 



MARCH 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



VHS DUPLICATION 

New lower rates 
Faster service 
Call for prices 



FILM/VIDEO ARTS 



817 Broadway at 12th Street 
New York City 10003 
212/673-9361 



A nonprofit media arts center 




Lowest Prices 
In New York 



35mm Arri BUN 
Betacam SP 
Super16 
16mm Arri 
Accessories 



$2,000perweek 
$250 per day 
$200 per day 
$150 per day 
Call 



High quality, bw prices, 
come see for yourself. 



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ODUCTIOAi 

PA RT NERSI 



17 East 17th Street, 7th Floor 

New York, NY 10003 

(212) 675-3000 

(212) 675-3275 FAX 



INSURANCE 

LIKE FILM, LITERATURE & MUSIC 
IS AN ART 




D.R.REIFF 
& ASSOCIATES 

ENTERTAINMENT INSURANCE BROKERS 

320 WEST 57 ST 

NEW YORK, NY 10019 

(212)603-0231 FAX (212) 582-6256 



100% COMPONENT VIDEO IMAGING = i 

On-Line Betacam SP Editing $240/hr. 

GVG 141 Editor, (2) Sony BVW-65 PLayers w/Dynamic Tracking, Sony BVW-70 Recorder, (2) Fortel CC-2 Color Correctors, 
GVG 1 00 Switcher, Sierra ChromaKeyer, Digital F/X 200 3D Effects, Paint & Typography w/4:4:4:4 Component Digital Quality, 
Bencher M2 Stand W/Sony DXC-3000 Camera, Soundcraft 200-BVE Audio mixer, Orban Limiter/Compressor, DAT, CD, 
Cassette & Turntable, Couches, Cappuccino & Cool! 

Betacam SP Field Production $700IDay 

Sony BVW-200 Camcorder w/Nikon S1 5x8.5 Lens, Sachler Video 20 Tripod, Shure FP-31 Mixer, (3) Lowell DP lights 
w/Umbrellas, Samson Wireless Mies, JVC TM-22 Monitor, Ford 4x4 Truck w/Phone. 

3/4" Off-Line Editing $30/hr. 

Sony 5800 PLayer, Sony 5850 Recorder, Sony RM-440 Editor, Fairlight CVI Effects, Cassette, Tascam Mixer. 

3/4" Field Production $450/Day 

Sony DXC-3000 Camera w/Fujinon 12x Lens, Sony VO-6800 Deck, Bogen Tripod, JVC TM-22 Monitor, (3) Lowell DP Lights 
w/Umbrellas, Assorted Mies. , , ..,-. .,_, _„_.,« ___ __<*.• 

Dv8video 738 Broadway, NYC 10003 212.529.8204 



your work? Well, I'm your man! I'm an experienced 
songwriter/producer w/ a home studio in the SoHo area. 
Atmospheric bluesy and grooves are definitely my 
specialty. Call John (212) 431-3223. 

SEEKING A PRODUCER w/ financing for dramedy 
feature based on true story, The Boys from Minnesota. 
Experienced writers, we have a treatment for your 
review. When you grow up in Minnesota, there's only 
one real sport: high school hockey. (818) 708-8640. 

ENTHUSIASTIC YET LAID BACK cinematographer w/ 
solid commercial DP credits & big time feature operating 
experience seeks project w/ strong visual potential. Has 
gear. Call TW (212) 947-3366. 

CAREER BUILDER. Seeking DP w/own 3/4" or Betacam 
for Ltd Partnership. Sit-com pilot to be targeted at cable 
& broadcast markets. Call Klinger (212) 874-0231. 

STORYBOARDS by artist trained & experienced in art, 
drafting, film & drama. Also excellent set carpenter 
available. Call Pat (212) 496-2200 or (212) 724-8932. 

EDITOR looking for extra work. Excellent experience, 
training. Samples & credits available. Call Pat at (212) 
496-2200 or (212) 724-8932. 

SHOOT IN MEXICO/CENTRAL AMERICA: Director/ 
cameraman w/ Panasonic U-Matic gear in Acapulco 
will travel/shoot/meet you anywhere. Transportation/ 
accommodations arranged. Call John (313) 987-1344. 

FULL VIDEO SERVICES: Bilingual (Spanish/English) 
producer/prod, manager/photographer w/ 17 yrs exp. in 
Europe/Japan/Central Amer. & US avail for long/short 
term. Special rate can incl. entire broadcast pkg. Ethel 
Velez (212) 949-3824; fax: (212) 255-3447. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER looking for interesting projects. 
Owner of Arri 16SR & other camera & lighting equip- 
ment. Reasonable rates. Call Ralph (718) 284-0223. 

GRANT WRITER WANTED for nonprofit film/video 
group. Call Jim McKay at Direct Impact: (717) 399- 
9288. 

COMPUTERIZED BUDGETS: AICP productions & 
postprod. budgets, or Hollywood studio feature format. 
High or low, union or non, budget will match your 
needs. Fast & accurate. Competitive rates. Rush service 
avail. Unity Pics (212) 254-0965. 

BETACAM SP packages available: New BVW-507 (w/ 
700-line resolution). B VW-505 also avail. Your choice 
of field production package comes w/ award-winning 
videographer, Toyota 4-Runner & competitive rates. 
Call Hal at (201) 662-7526. 

CURRENT SOUNDS PRODUCTIONS: Original music 
scoring for film, video & jingles. Flexible, personable 
composer will work with you. Complete recording studio 
w/ full SMPTE lockup, samplers, synthesizers, MIDI & 
acoustic instruments. (212) 721-2301. 

MUSIC FOR YOUR FILM OR VIDEO project. Composer/ 
producer w/ credits that include the feature True Love, 
GlobalVision, extensive work for Harper & Row, 
Caedmon, also Billboard Chart credits. Reasonable rates. 
John Bauers Music Productions (201) 963-3144. 

DIRECTOR OFPHOTOGRAPHY available for dramatic 

16 or 35mm productions of any length. Credits include 
Metropolitan. Call to see my reel. John Thomas (201) 
783-7360. 

AWARD WINNING DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY 

looking for interesting projects. Owner of super 16 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



capable full Aaton package. Paul (212) 475-1947. 

BETACAM PACKAGE w/ tripod, lights, mics, award- 
winning cameraman, crew & transportation avail, for 
your project at great rates. Fast & reliable. Broadcast 
quality. Call Eric (718) 389-7104. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ feature (4), doc & commercial 
credits avail, for film or video projects of any length. 
Personable, w/ strong visual sense & excellent lighting. 
Own equipment, at a reasonable rate you can afford. Call 
for demo: Eric (718) 389-7104. 

VIDEO PRODUCTION PKGS incl. camera, multi-format 
recording, tripod, lighting & audio accessories. 
Experienced camera person at reasonable rates. Also 
video transfers from 16mm, 8mm, photos & slides (w/ 
dissolve). (212) 260-7748. 

AWARD WINNING CAMERAMAN w/ 16mm ACL II 
looking for challenging projects. Partial client list: ABC 
Sports, IBM, LIRR, Pitney Bowes, Wilderness Society. 
Complete crews avail, incl. sound & grip pkgs. Reason- 
able rates. Mike (718) 352-1287. 

CAMERAMAN w/ extensive feature experience available 
for features, commercials & rock videos. Also owner of 
35 BL, SR, 3/4" SP and S-VHS. Lighting package and 
van. Call Tony at (212) 620-0084. 

BETACAM SP 507, Hi band 8mm & Arri SR pkgs avail. 
w/ well-traveled network/PBS camerman for doc. drama 
& music projects. Call Ed at (212) 666-7514. 

I'LL KEEP YOUR BUDGET IN LINE. Experienced 
composer seeks film & video projects to score. Equipped 
to handle all yourneeds from synth/sample arrangements 
to live ensembles. John P.T. Morris (718) 383-6109. 

FILM EDITOR avail, for doc & narrative productions. 
15 yrs exp. in European film industry. When possible, 
prefers involvement from preproduction on. Languages: 
English, Italian, French. Edward (718) 596-5094 or 
(703) 659-0539. 

Postproduction 

BOB BRODSKY & TONI TREADWAY: Super 8 & 8mm 
film-to-video mastering w/ scene-by-scene color 
correction to 1 ", Betacam & 3/4". By appointment only. 
Call (617) 666-3372. 

TOTAL SUPER 8 SOUND film services. All S-8 produc- 
tion, postprod., editing, sync sound, sound mix, 
multitrack, single & double system sound editing, 
transfers, stills, etc. Send S ASE for rate sheet or call Bill 
Creston, 727 6th Ave., NY, NY 10010; (212) 924-4893. 

IN LOS ANGELES: 3/4" & VHS off-line editing rooms 
for rent. KEM flatbed, moviola, sound transfer and 
audio sweetening also available. Call Sim Sadler or 
Helen Crosby-Garcia at Finale Post-Production. (213) 
461-6216. 

SUPER OFF-LINE RATE: 2 Sony 3/4" w/ RM 450 edit 
controller, mixer, mic, $15/hr, $100/day, $400/wk, 
midtown location, quiet, comfortable, private room, call 
(212)997-1464. 

RENTAL OF 16MM & 3SMM motion picture projection 
systems for screenings at your location; delivered, set up 
& operated. We do composite, interlock & process 
projection to SMPTE specs. Navestar Screenings, 217 
W. 21 St., NY, NY 10011. 

16MM EDITING ROOM & OFFICE space for rent in 
suite of indies. Fully equipped w/ 6-plate Steenbeck & 

MARCH 1991 



at P.A.D.C. Studios 

We Strive to put State-of-the-Art 
Media Technology in your hands 

@ ROCK BOTTOM PRICES 
'pot cf&wi ItSS'DS eve 6*zve: 

* 42' x 22' Recording Area: 

* Multi-Camera Recording 

* 3/4" Sony 9800-9850 SP 
Machines with R.M 450 

* 2*433 for Dig^al Effects - 
only Big Networks can afford 

* SupeftS&cfe Q/tapdiCS by 
Amiga Computer 

* D.P.S. 275 T.B.C. 

* Peevy Stereo Audio Mixer 

* Regular & Super VHS Recorders 

AND MUCH MORE 

P.A.B.C Studio # 305 
270 Lafayette Street, NYC 10012 

(At the Corner of Prince St.) 
ONE BLOCK FROM: 

TRAINS: N,R,F,B,D,Q, & 6 

TEL: (212) 274 0062 



INSURANCE BROKERS 
SINCE A 1899 




DeWitt Stern, 
Gutmann & Co. Inc. 

Specialists in Entertainment Insurance 



New York : 

Jolyon F. Stern, President 
Carol A. Bressi, Manager 
420 Lexington Avenue 
New York, NY 10170-0199 
212-867-3550 Telex: 886142 

Los Angeles : 
Jerry VandeSande 
Bill Hudson 
11365 Ventura Blvd. 
Studio City, CA 91604 
818-763-9365 

AFFILIATES 
LONDON • PARIS • MUNICH 




THE INDEPENDENT 31 



3 / 4 " VIDEO & POST PRODUCTION 


© 


m 


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iai 


SI 


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mU 


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Computerized 
$40. Edit System 

Eagle 2 w/DOS, Printer & 
w/Editor CMX compatable disk. 

Address Track Timecode, TBC, 
Freezes, Switcher w/GPI, Hi-res. 
Character Gen. (70 fonts), Fairlight 
Dig. Effects. 



$60. A/B Roll w/all the above 



$20. Do-it-yourself with RM440 
& Fade to Black (3/4 to 
3/4 & VHS - 3/4) 

$30. with Editor - Cuts only 



Striping - Window Dubs - Copies 
3/4 Location Package with 
Ikegami 730, S-VHS Camcorder 



TEL: (212) 219-9240 



DAVID ROYLE 
PRODUCTIONS 

OFF-LINE 
EDITING 

VHS & 3/4" 



©II 



ELECTRONIC ARTS INTERMIX 
EQUIPMENT LOAN SERVICE 

- Low-cost rentals to artists and non-profit organizations, 
for use in public exhibitions and installations 

- Sony PVM-2530 25" color monitors 

- Sony VP-7020 playback decks 

- Sony VPH-1041Q state-of-the-art video projector 
7'x10'6" Da-Lite "fast fold" screen 

Custom shipping cases and cables for all items 
Technical assistance for equipment set-up 
Long term rentals at weekly and monthly rates far 
below those of commercial facilities 

Equipment Loan Service application forms, rate schedules, rental 
procedures and equipment lists may be obtained by contacting: 



Electronic Arts Intermix 

536 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
tel. (212) 966-4605 fax. (212) 



10012 
6118 



\ 


cffiSSa* 






GREAT RATES 






9 4 7-8433 

330 W. 42nd St. 
N.Y., N.Y. 10036 





24-hr access. All windowed & new carpet. Located at 
W. 24th St. & 7th Ave. Reasonable rates. Call Jeff at 
Film Partners (212) 714-2313. 

3/4" OFF-LINE SYSTEM for rent. Cut at your location. 
Sony 9800/9850 decks (SP w/ Dolby & XLR output), 
RM 450 controller, Tascam 6-channel mixer w/ amp & 
speakers, 13" monitors w/ blue & underscan, TC reader. 
Long/short-term rental. (718) 392-6058. 

COBBLE HILL OFF-LINE: Sony 5850 system $150/ 
day, $500/wk in comfortable apartment near downtown 
Brooklyn. Copier, fax available. Call Fred at (7 1 8) 852- 
2643. 

BROADCAST QUALITY EDITING: Edit from Betacam, 
3/4" or 3/4" SP. $99/hr including operator, switcher, slo- 
mo. 50% discount on DVE for AJVF members. Call 
HDTV Enterprises, Inc. near Lincoln Center (212) 874- 
4524. 

OFF-LINE AT HOME! We will rent you 2 Sony 5850s 
with RM440 or RM450 edit controller & monitors. Low 
rates by the month, $650/week. Answer your own phone 
and cut all night if you like! Call John at (212) 245-1364 
or 529-1254. 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound transfer facilities, 24-hr access. 
Downtown, near all subways and Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

VIDEO EDITING: Edit your project in the evenings. We 
have great off-line system with Amiga graphics, mixer 
& time code. Call Al and we'll work out a great deal. 
(212)620-9157. 

COZY & CHEAP: 3/4" off-line editing room w/ new 
Sony 5850, 5800, RM440. $500/week, $150/day. 
Midtown location. 24-hr access. Fax, xerox & dubbing 
services available. Call Jane at (212) 929-4795 or 
Deborah at 226-2579. 

VHS EDITING, YOUR PLACE OR OURS. Rent our 8600 
system and monitors "to go" for a low $300/wk. Or use 
the system in house. For low rates, call (212) 924-2553. 

16MM EDITING GEAR: M77A flatbed, xlOO fullcoat 
recorder, SZD synchronizer, rewinds, Moviscope, squak 
box, splicer, plus clamps, spacers, manuals, split reels & 
odds and ends. A great deal at $5000, plus shipping. 
(505) 986-0040. 

3/4" OFFLINE SYSTEM Sony B VE-900 editor w/ 2B VU 
800 decks & EDL Mngment, Sony monitors, T-C Gen 
1 mixer, etc. Discount for long term rentals w/ or w/out 
24 hr access edit suite in West 20s. 450 pkg also avail 
sep. or together. Lennon Prod (212) 463-9890. 

ROUGH CUTS $25 w/ editor: A) Semiauto. S-VHS or 
VHS to auto. 3/4" editing, incl. FX & audio mixer. B) 3/ 
4" editing incl. fades & wipe, audio mixer. A/V processor 
& Amiga 500 1MB avail. Consulting, project pkgs & 
training. (718) 624-0799 or (212) 996-6669. 

BETACAM SP: Sony BVU-530, Sachler 20, Lowell 
Omni-kit, mics, $450/day. Same but 3/4" SP or Betacam, 
$350. Ike 730A & BVU1 10 w/ tc $175/day. Betacam or 
3/4" SP to 3/4" SP cuts only w/ Amiga 2000 & switcher/ 
still store $50/hr. Electronic Visions (212) 691-0375. 

IN EDIT HELL? Come to edit heaven. 3/4" SP w/ Sony 
9850, 9800, RM450: $12/hr, $100/day, $500/wk. ARTI 
computer controller runs VTRs, makes EDLs, add 30%. 
Film room w/ KEM 6-plate (S-8. 16mm or 35mm), snd 
xfrs, film to vid xfrs. New Matchback (212) 685-6283. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



Conferences ■ Seminars 

AUTO-CENSORSHIP: The Chilling Effect After the 
Fact symposium to be held Sat., May 4 at the New 
School for Social Research in NYC. Cosponsored by 
Media Alliance, AIVF & New School. Artists, writers, 
curators, publishers, journalists, filmmakers encouraged 
to show & tell how they ' ve been affected by or succumbed 
to recent censorship attempts. Contact: New School for 
Social Research, Media Studies Dept., 2 W. 13th St., 
New York, NY 1001 1; (212) 627-9629. 

FILM ARTS FOUNDATION spring workshops: Guided 
Intermediate Screenwriting, Mar. 4-May 13; Optical 
Printer Filmmaking: Mar. 13- Apr. 17; Sound Intensive 
I, Recording in the Field Basics: Mar. 16 & 17. Contact: 
FAF, 346 Ninth St., 2nd fl., San Francisco, CA 94103. 

FILM IN THE CITIES Video Weekend Workshops: 
VHS video production, Apr. 6 & 1 3; VHS video editing, 
Mar. 9 & 10 and Apr. 27 & 28. Contact: Film in the 
Cities, 2388 University Ave., St. Paul, MN 551 14. 

FILM/VIDEO ARTS Spring Workshops: Beg. Film Prod., 
Mar. 20-June 5; Advanced Film Prod., Mar. 28-June 13; 
Advanced Screenwriting, Apr. 3-May 8; Intro to 3/4" 
Video Editing, Mar. 2 & 3, and May 4 & 5; Advanced 3/ 
4" Editing, Mar. 9 & 10 and May 18 & 19; Arri SR 
Workshop, May 4 & 5; Essentials of Prod. Insurance, 
Apr. 30; The Art of Producing w/ Monty Ross, Mar. 9; 
Intro to Digital Effects, Apr. 15-May 20; Time Code 
Basics, Apr. 6; Intro to Optical Printing, Apr. 13 & 14. 
Contact: F/VA, 317 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; 
(212)673-9361. 

HISTORY IN FILM & TV Symposium on Oral History, 
March 21-22 at Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Ctr., Baylor 
Univ., Waco, TX. Features Henry Hampton & Ken 
Burns. Sponsored by Baylor Univ. Institute for Oral 
History w/ KCTF Public TV for Central Texas. 
Registration fee: $50. Symposium session also 
transmitted via satellite to participating sites by PBS 
Adult Learning Satellite Service. For symposium info, 
contact: Institute for Oral History, Baylor Univ., Box 
97271, Waco, TX 76798-7271; (817) 755-3437. For 
teleconference info, contact: PBS Adult Learning 
Satellite Service, 1320 Braddock PL, Alexandria, VA 
22314; (703) 739-5363; (800) 257-2578. 

NAT'L ASSN OF ARTISTS' ORGANIZATIONS con- 
ference to be held Apr. 10-14 in Washington, D.C. 
Events inch Art Activist Day, membership mtg & panels 
on ethics of money, artists of color, artists working 
abroad & more. Contact: N A AO, 9 1 8 F St., Washington, 
DC 20004; (202) 347-6350. 

SOCIALIST SCHOLARS CONFERENCE: After the 
Flood: The World Transformed, to be held Apr. 5-7 at 
the Borough of Manhattan Community College in NYC. 
Speakers incl. Father Daniel Berrigan, Manning Marable, 
Frances Fox Piven, Paul Robeson, Jr., Guillermo Ungo 
& Ellen Willis. Contact: R.L. Norman, Jr., CUNY 
Democratic Socialists Club, Rm. 800, 33 W. 42nd St., 
New York, NY 10036. 

Films ■ Tapes Wanted 

ATA TRADING Corp. seeks rights for films & videos for 
distribution worldwide into all markets. Contact: ATA 
Trading Corp., McAlpin House, 50 W. 34th St., Ste. 
5C6, New York, NY 10001; (212) 594-6460. 

CHANNEL L WORKING GROUP seeks 3/4" & 1/2" 
video entries for 10- wk Manhattan cable series Video 




Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are 
included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit for 
length. Deadlines for Notices will be 
respected. These are the 8th of the month, 
two months prior to cover date, e.g., 
March 8 for the May issue. Send to: 
Independent Notices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10012. 

Spectrum. All genres accepted, but themes should deal 
w/ social or political issues. Must have originated in 
video. Max. length: 28 min., masters required for cable- 
cast. People of color, women, emerging artists & 
physically disabled encouraged to apply. Pays $16-20/ 
min. Send cassettes w/ S ASE to: Video Spectrum, Ch. L 
Working Group, 51 Chambers St., Rm. 532, New York, 
NY 10007; (212) 964-2960. 

DISTRIBUTOR IN EUROPE looking for docs on soldiers 
of fortune and fairy tales promoting pro-social values. 
Ruth Feldman, 1433 Tenth St., Santa Monica, CA 
90401.(213)394-2984. 

IMAGE UNION, Chicago public TV's weekly half-hr 
series featuring work by independent film- & video- 
makers seeks submissions no longer than 27 min. on 3/ 
4" videocassette. Send tapes to: Image Union, WTTW/ 
Chicago, 5400 N. St. Louis Ave., Chicago, IL 60625. 

INDEPENDENT EYE, monthly series on KQED-TV, 
San Francisco, seeks independent films & videos that 
fuse performing arts & TV medium. Maximum length: 
20min.Pays$10/min. Contact: Independent Eye,KQED, 
500 8th St., San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 553-2269. 

LONG SHOT THEATER, nonprofit public access 
program, seeks short films/videos in all genres for 
weekly half-hour show. 3/4" cassettes preferred. Works 
should be under 25 min. & accompanied by brief 
description. No fees or awards. Contact: Todd Sargent, 
Long ShotTheater, 48 Sawyer Ave., Boston, MA 02 1 25; 
(617)287-1980. 

NIGHTSHIFT seeks student films & videos, all genres, 
for broadcast on WCVB-Ch. 5, Boston. Entering 19th 
season, NightShift is New England's weekly student art 
showcase. Submit 3/4" tapes & a short bio to: Chay 
Yew, producer, NightShift, WCVB-TV Boston, 5 TV 
PI., Needham, MA 02194-2303; (617) 449-0400. 

Opportunities ■ Gigs 

AFRICAN AMERICAN MEDIA PROJECT DIRECTOR 

sought by California Newsreel. Project director will 
expand collection of films & videos on African Amer. 
life & history. Salary: $30,000 w/ excellent medical & 
dental benefits. Send resume, list of 3 job-related 
references & writing samples to: Project Director. 



California Newsreel, 149 Ninth St., Ste. 420, San 
Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 621-6196. 

ASSISTANTSHIPS AVAILABLE: MFA program in film 
at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Program 
offers concentrations in narrative, doc, animation, 
experimental, optical printing & film studies. Appl. 
deadline: Mar. 15 for fall semester, 1991. Qualified 
applicants contact: Dept. of Cinema & Photography, 
Southern IL Univ., Carbondale, IL 62901; (618) 453- 
2365. 

FOLK ART DOCUMENTARIAN needed to uncover, 
rediscover folk artists & lifestyles in W. VA. Must 
develop contacts, interviews; make high-quality a/v 
recording of indigenous people; develop audiovisual 
resource for future research & production, lyear full- 
time, 2nd year request submitted to NEA. Send resume 
& relevant info to: Commissioner, W. Virginia Division 
of Culture & History, Capitol Complex, Charleston, VA 
25305. 

Publications 

1987-1991 VIDEO TAPE REVIEW, Video Data Bank's 
newest catalog, now avail. $3 donation requested to help 
cover costs of printing & mailing. Contact: Video Data 
Bank, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 37 S. 
Wabash, Chicago, IL 60603. 

1991 ADVOCACY HANDBOOK incls. contact lists of 
NYS legislators & committees, checklist on organizing 
grassroots advocacy campaigns in your community, 
sample letters to legislators, an action timeline & facts 
about the 1991 arts platform. $6.50 per copy, plus $1.50 
shipping & handling. Contact: Alliance of NYS Arts 
Councils, 1002 Breunig Rd., Stewart Airport, New 
Windsor, NY 12553; (914) 564-6462. 

BORDER CROSSING: The Cinema ofJohan Van Der 
Keuken, catalog of exhibit & touring series organized by 
Richard Herskowitz, avail, from Herbert F. Johnson 
Museum of Art, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853. 

CHOICE: A Guide to Film & Video about Women's 
Reproductive Health & Freedom now avail, from Media 
Network. $7.50 to individuals, $ 1 1 .50 to orgs. Contact: 
Media Network, 121 Fulton St., 5th fl., New York, NY 
10038; (212) 619-3455. 

PROGRAM FOR ART ON FILM: Art on Film Database 
incl. over 17,000 listings on int'l film & video prods on 
visual arts. For more info contact: Program for Art on 
Film, 980 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10021; (212) 
988-4876. 

THE FOUNDATION CENTER Grants Index lists grants 
of $5,000 or more awarded to nonprofit orgs by 
independent, community & company-sponsored 
foundations. $95 plus $4.50 shipping & handling. 
Contact: Foundation Center. 79 Fifth Ave.. New York, 
NY 10003; (212) 807-3677 or (800) 424-9836. 

Resources ■ Funds 

CHECKERBOARD FOUNDATION postproduction 
grants of $5-10,000 avail, to NYS residents. Deadline: 
Mar. 20. Contact: Checkerboard Fnd. e/o Media Alliance. 
356 W.58thSt.,New York, NY 10019; (212)560-2919. 

INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE Genera] 

Solicitation appls are finally here. Will support full & 
completion funding of public TV programs by ind. 
producers w/ awards in the range of $10-300.000. 



MARCH 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



EMPLOYMENT 
OPPORTUNITIES IN 
MOTION PICTURES 

For the latest openings in 
film crew and production 
company staff positions, call 
us. Choose from 11 major 
regions. $12.95 per call. We 
give you the contact to call 
or write directly. Updated 



applicants may list them- 
selves on our database for 
The Producer's Search 
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_ Call 

1-900-933-FILM 

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7008 Package $2,495.00 



7008 Package Includes: 

7008 Super 8 Camera, 25mm Prime Lens, 

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Optional Accessories: Video Assist, 

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Deadline: Mar. 15. Forappl. contact: ITVS, Box 65797, 
St. Paul, MN 55165. 

LYN BLUMENTHAL MEMORIAL FUND for Inde- 
pendent Video will fund video production & criticism 
that addresses theme of the Unlegislated Body. Fund 
encourages video projects that make inventive & strategic 
use of small format technologies. Grants range from 
S1000-S3000. Deadline: May 15. For appl., write: Lyn 
Blumenthal Memorial Fund, Box 3514, Church St. 
Station, New York, NY 10007. 

MEDIA ALLIANCE seeks administrative assistant w/ 
education or exp. in office management, administration 
or public relations, w/interest in media arts or nonprofits. 
Send resume to: Media Alliance, c/o WNET, 356 West 
58th St., New York, NY 10019; arm: Mary Esbjornson. 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES 

Projects in Media deadline: Mar. 15. Contact: James 
Dougherty, NEH, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 
Washington, DC 20506; (202) 786-0278. 

NEW YORK STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS deadline : 
Mar. 1 for all categories. Contact: NYSCA, 915 Broad- 
way, New York, NY 10010; (212) 614-2904. 

PENNSYLVANIA COUNCIL ON THE ARTS provides 
grants for prod, projects of PA artists through nonprofit, 
fiscal sponsors. Deadline: Apr. 1 . Contact: PCA, Finance 
Bldg.,Rm. 216, Harrisburg, PA 17120; (717) 787-6883. 

WOMEN IN COMMUNICATIONS Clarion Awards now 
accepting entries of outstanding achievement & 
excellence in 80categories of communications. Deadline: 
Mar. 15. Entry fee: $35 per entry for WICI members, 
$70 for nonmembers. Contact: Laura Rush, WICI 
Headquarters, 2101 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 417, Arlington, 
VA 22201; (703) 528-4200. 



TAX TIME SHOPPING LIST 

The Artists Tax Workbook (1990 ed.). Carta 
Messman. Read practical tax preparation in- 
formation for artists. Areas covered include 
guidelines for receipts and recordkeeping, 
IRS reporting requirements, state sales tax, 
completed returns, actual tax forms, and much 
more. $16.95 plus $2.50 postage. 

Filing through Tears. Listen to Susan Lee 
and Cecil Feldman CPA explain uniform 
capitalization and other tax filing options for 
independent film and videomakers in AI VF' s 
audiotaped 1988 seminar. $12.00 

Reprints from The Independent from 1988- 
1990 will brief independent artists on tax 
law, uniform capitalization, safe harbor re- 
quirements, and consequences. Free for ATVF 
members; $4 nonmembers. Include SASE 
with 450 postage. 

Special offer to members: Order both the 
book and tape for $22 (postage included) and 
save $9.95. 

Send check to: AIVF 625 Broadway, 9th 
floor, New York, NY 10012. Or call (212) 
473-3400 and charge to your Visa or Master- 
card. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



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RAY NAVARRO: 1964-1990 

Raymond Robert Navarro, political activist, video- 
maker, writer, and former editorial assistant at 
The Independent, died at St. Vincent's Hospital in 
Manhattan on November 9, 1990, after a 10- 
month battle with AIDS. Born in Hawthorne, 
California, and raised in Simi Valley, California, 
he was 26 years old. After studying fine arts, 
multi-media art, and video at Otis Parsons School 
of Art and Design in Los Angeles, the California 
Institute for the Arts in Valencia, California, and 
the Whitney Independent Study Program in New 
York City, Ray became a central figure in the 
AIDS activist community , producing radical media 
and organizing multicultural screenings to fight 
AIDS. He wrote a number of articles on AIDS 
media and other topics, including several pub- 
lished in The Independent. A major essay on gay 
and lesbian politics and AIDS organizing, "Shock- 
ing Pink Praxis: Race and Gender on the ACT UP 
Front Lines," which he coauthored with his friend 
and frequent collaborator Catherine 
Saalfield, will appear in a forthcoming 
anthology edited by Diana Fuss, entitled 
Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay 
Theories. We asked several ofhisfriends 
and colleagues to record their memo- 
ries of Ray. 

JEAN CARLOMUSTO 

Ray was a vital member of the AIDS 
community and an inspirational force as 
a media activist. He had an energizing 
presence and knew how to get things 
done. I have a clear image of him seated 
at a crowded coffeeshop table talking 
politics and art a mile a minute. He was 
brilliant, witty, and chewed with his 
mouth open on purpose. 

He had a knack for uncovering the personal, 
political, and representational aspects of an issue. 
I remember waiting for Ray the morning of the 
Stop the Church demonstration at Saint Patrick's 
Cathedral. This action was aimed at Cardinal 
O'Connor for opposing distribution of condoms 
to prevent the spread of HIV and at the Catholic 
Church for opposing reproductive freedom for 
women. Ray pulled up to the curb at nine on a 
Sunday morning, in his old car, dressed in a ski 
parka and acrown of thorns. Outside the cathedral 
that day, Ray was a revolutionary Christ who 
would have pleased Pasolini. 

Ray was a pleasure to work with. His efforts at 
the Gay Men's Health Crisis were exemplary. He 
and Catherine Saalfield produced a program for 
the Living with AIDS Show on the issue of needle 
exchange. Bleach, Teach, and Outreach which 
supported the New York City needle exchange 
program (now defunct) at a time when it was 
under considerable pressure. He also worked on 
distribution strategies for our Safer Sex Shorts, 
getting them included in daily programs of porn 



IN MEMORIUM 



houses like Show Palace. He was a member of the 
Latino Advisory Panel (a group of Latino men 
working on AIDS advising GMHC) and pio- 
neered the Safer Sex Bar Presentations in the 
Latino community . As founding members of DIVA 
TV (Damned Interfering Video Activists), a small 
group of us who were doing media activism within 
ACT UP would meet and think of ways we could 
work together to create videotapes from within 
the AIDS activist movement. Perhaps his most 
wonderful talent was the way he blended work 
and play. He was as vigorous as his politics, as 
vibrant as his work. 




Ray Navarro 

Photos: Gary Winter 

Shortly before he died, I asked Ray why he 
came to New York. He replied, "I wanted to do 
more community-based work and to develop dif- 
ferent ways of distributing videos." In a short 
period of time, Ray did precisely what he had set 
out to do. He did it in a way that garnered him 
many friends who cared a great deal about him 
and miss him dearly. I will always cherish his 
memory whenever grassroots activism and revo- 
lutionary media are put into practice. 

Jean Carlomusto is the coordinator of audio- 
visual at the Gay Men ' s Health Crisis in New York 
City. 

JOHN GREYSON 

He loved to argue. He loved the Smiths. He 
aspired to Bratdom. He loved the queens at the 
Plaza, a Latino drag bar where we used to dance. 



Especially Olga, who had been there since his first 
visit as a terrified teen. He loved to busstop at the 
Catch One. He loved chicken and waffles. He 
loved vibrancy, and loved video, because it could 
produce vibrancy at every stage: the shooting, the 
editing, the showing, the arguing. Like his main 
collaborators (and he loved the vibrancy of col- 
laboration), video offered him a process for his art 
and his politics that was alive and vulnerable. He 
loved the danger of video. 

Nothing was simply a video "job." December 
1987: While we were agonizing over a short 
documentary profile of the Minority AIDS Proj- 
ect in L. A., he was simultaneously agonizing over 
the Bill Viola video installation at the Museum of 
Contemporary Art (where he worked), agonizing 
over a solidarity tape for a Salvadorean refugee 
support group (where he volunteered), and ago- 
nizing over another draft of his Defect script, an 
experimental narrative concerning Cuban spies, 
gay CIA agents, ballet dancers, and museum edu- 
cation programs. He struggled with all four pas- 
sionately, refusing to compromise the art and 
politics of each, demanding of each a 
complexity that most would refuse, 
accomplishing each with a humor that 
was irresistible. 

In the urgency and agony of the 
moment, along with so many others, 
we mourn his untimely death, the tapes 
he won't produce, the articles he won't 
write, the arguments he won't have. 
Ray will always be with some of us, on 
every shoot, in every edit, at every 
screening, on every dance floor: de- 
manding vibrancy, demanding new pri- 
orities, reminding us to laugh, and to 
argue. 

John Grey son is an independent filml 
videomaker in Toronto, who taught 
video at CalArts. 

LILLIAN JIMENEZ 

I first met Ray Navarro at the press screenings of 
the National Latino Film and Video Festival in 
1988, held at Warner's corporate headquarters in 
midtown Manhattan. Ray came on behalf of the 
Guardian newspaper. He was very sweet, but I did 
not fully realize how brilliant he was until he 
started to talk to me about the films. I sort of did 
a double take and began to respond to him in 
earnest. He wrote a wonderful review — full of 
great insights. In 1990, he galvanized many of us 
at the Latino caucus of the Show the Right Thing 
conference with his passion and knowledge about 
the need for educating the Latino community 
about AIDS. At that time, Yvette Nieves-Cruz 
from the CineFestival of San Antonio and I agreed 
to have special programs curated by Ray at our 
festivals. To his credit, Ray attended the screen- 
ings in San Antonio and Austin even though he 
was pretty sick. While Ray was too sick to curate 
the upcoming National Latino Film and Video 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



The Association 
of Independent 
Video and 
Filmmakers 



f Se*te^CU aj ^Met^ 



WTien you join the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, you're doing something for yourself — and for 
others. Membership entitles you to a wide range of benefits. 
Plus, it connects you with a national network of independent 
producers. Adding your voice helps us all. The stronger AIVF 
is, the more we can act as advocate for the interests of inde- 
pendents like yourself — inside the corridors of Washington, 
with the press, and with others who affect our livelihoods. 



HE INDEPENDENT 

lembership provides you with a year's 
ubscription to The Independent. Pub- 
shed 10 times a year, the magazine is 
vital source of information about the 
idependent media field. Each issue 
ielps you get down to business with 
:stival listings, funding deadlines, ex- 
ibition venues, and more. Plus, you'll 
nd thought-provoking features, 
average of the field's news, and 
3 gular columns on business, techni- 
al, and legal matters. 

HE FESTIVAL BUREAU 

irVF maintains up-to-date information 
n over 650 national and international 
stivals, and can help you determine 
hich are right for your film or video. 

cdson Service 

(VF works directly with many foreign 
| stivals, in some cases collecting and 
nipping tapes or prints overseas, in 
her cases serving as the U.S. host to 
siting festival directors who come to 
review work. 

ape Library 

lembers can house copies of their 
ork in the AIVF tape library for 
cxeening by visiting festival program- 
lers. Or make your own special 
greening arrangements with ATVF. 

FORMATION SERVICES 

distribution 

1 person or over the phone, AIVF can 
rovide information about distributors 
nd the kinds of films, tapes, and 
larkets in which they specialize. 



AJVFs Member Library 

Our library houses information on dis- 
tributors, hinders, and exhibitors, as 
well as sample contracts, funding ap- 
plications, budgets, and other matters. 

SEMINARS 

Our seminars explore current busi- 
ness, aesthetic, legal, and technical 
topics, giving independent producers a 
valuable forum to discuss relevant 
issues. 



BOOKS AND TAPES 

AIVF has the largest mail order catalog 
of media books and audiotaped se- 
minars in the U.S. Our list covers all 
aspects of film and video production. 
And we're constantly updating our 
titles, so independents everywhere 
have access to the latest media infor- 
mation. We also publish a growing list 
of our own titles, covering festivals, 
distribution, and foreign and domestic 
production resource guides. 

continued 



r 




AIVF 

625 Broadway 
9th floor 
New York, NY 
10012 



ADVOCACY 

Whether it's freedom of expression, 
public funding levels, public TV, 
contractual agreements, cable 
legislation, or other issues that affect 
independent producers, ATVF is 
there working for you. 

INSURANCE 

Production Insurance 

A production insurance plan, tailor- 
made for ATVF members and cover- 
ing public liability, faulty film and 
tape, equipment, sets, scenery, 
props, and extra expense, is avail- 
able, as well as an errors and omis- 
sions policy with unbeatable rates. 

Group Health, Disability, and Life 
Insurance Plans with TEIGIT 

ATVF currently offers two health 
insurance policies, so you're able to 
find the one that best suits your 
needs. 

Dental Plan 

Reduced rates for dental coverage 
are available to NYC and Boston- 
area members. 



DEALS AND DISCOUNTS 
Service Discounts 

In all stages of production and in most 
formats, ATVF members can take ad- 
vantage of discounts on equipment 
rentals, processing, editing services, 
and other production necessities. 

National Car Rental 

National offers a 10-20 percent dis- 
count to ATVF members. Write for the 
ATVF authorization number. 

Mastercard Plan 

Credit cards through the Maryland 
Bank are available to members with a 
minimum annual income of $18,000. 
Fees are waived the first year. 

Facets Multimedia Video Rentals 
ATVF members receive discounts on 
membership and mail-order video 
rentals and sales from this Chicago- 
based video rental organization. 

MORE TO COME 

Keep watching The Independent for in- 
formation about additional benefits. 




^dfr ^4. 



Join ATVF today and get a one-year 
subscription to The Independent. 

□ $45 /individual (in U.S. & P.R.) 

□ (Add $15 for 1st class mailing) 

□ $8 5 /organization 

□ $60/library 

□ $25/student (enclose copy of 
student ID) 

□ $60/foreign 

□ (Add $18 for foreign air mail 
outside Canada & Mexico) 



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Or, please bill my: □ Visa 

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Five thousand members strong, 
the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers has been 
working for independent produce! 
— providing information, fighting 
for artists' rights, securing 
funding, negotiating discounts, 
and offering group insurance 
plans. Join our growing roster. 



MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES 

Individual membership 

10 issues of The Independent 

Access to all plans and discounts 

Vote and run for office on board c 

directors 

Free Motion Picture Enterprises 

Guide 

Listing in the ATVF Membership 

Directory 

Organizational membership 

All the benefits of individual 

membership 

PLUS: Special expanded listing in 

the ATVF Membership Directory an 

a free copy 

Discounts on the ATVF mailing lis 

Student membership 

10 issues of The Independent 
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All the benefits of individual 

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PLUS: Special notice of upcoming: 

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Back issues of The Independent 



Festival of El Museo del Barrio ' s special program 
of AIDS media geared for the Latino community, 
it was organized because of Ray. Therefore, the 
festival will be dedicated to his memory. 

Ray asked the right questions and put himself 
out to break down barriers within the Latino 
community and the independent film and video 
community to come to a better understanding 
about our differences and our similarities. He put 
himself out on a limb at times — like when he 
spoke at the Austin AIDS screening. This was the 
first time that he had spoken to a predominantly 
Chicano audience as a gay Chicano man actively 
involved in AIDS education work. And even 
though he was really scared, he stood up in front 
of that audience. And he was wonderful. 

I don't think I'll ever meet anyone quite like 
him and feel privileged to have known him. He 
was one of the most courageous and sweetest men 
I have ever met. And as my very wise son has 
counseled me, if I keep him in my mind, then he'll 
disappear, but if I keep him in my heart, then he'll 
always stay there. Ray, you'll always have aplace 
in my heart for your brilliance, humanity, and 
courage. 

Lillian Jimenez is the coordinator of the Paul 
Robeson Fund at the Funding Exchange in New 
York City. 

ELLEN SPIRO 

During the span of Ray's battle with AIDS — a 
series of tremendous struggles against several 
opportunistic infections — his creative force was 
powerfully acti ve . He harnessed his creative energy 
as a healing force for his own body and the society 
he constantly fought to change and heal. After he 
lost most of his sight from meningitis (he could 
distinguish light from dark, sensations which he 
would describe in detail), Ray collaborated on 
many projects. It seemed that with each of his 
friends he was brewing up a different concoction: 
videos, installations, writings, photography, etc. 
His imaginative brilliance and love became a sort 
of magnet for those around him. Every time I 
came to visit he was working on something with 
someone and eager to document his latest ideas. 
Once when I visited him on the seventh floor of St. 
Vincent's Hospital, we decided to record his ideas 
on video. He felt and looked particularly gorgeous 
that day, on his way up after a near-devastating 
battle with another opportunistic infection. When 
we got the camera set up, he seemed transformed 
by its presence, addressing it directly and inti- 
mately, interspersing his words with ecstatic 
smiles — like he was greeting an old friend he 
hadn't seem for a long time: 

Hello, little Camera. Am I looking into it? Oh, 
Camera (sigh), you're so funny, little Camera. 
Listen, Camera, this is Ray — current video artist, 
temporarily disabled, and permanently hopeful. 
Listen, Camera. Whatever happens and we don't 
know yet, do we? We'll just have to wait and see, 




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won't we? Oh, I don't know what to say in front of 
the little Camera; let me tell you this, little Cam- 
era: let's get serious for a minute. Camera, life is 
a wonderful thing and once it's almost taken from 
you. ..I mean. ..life is worth living. It' s like Herbert 
Marcuse says, life is worth living. But we have to 
remember that he also said that change is pos- 
sible. You see, that's more than just a political 
statement; that' s some real cool philosophy . Life 
is worth living and the possibility for change 
exists, so, who knows, little Camera.... 

I miss Ray's warm voice and presence, his 
ability to inspire and mobilize and his intense 
commitment to personal and social change. 

Ellen Spiro is an independent videomaker who 
lives in New York City. 

GREGG BORDOWITZ 

Ray had an enormous ego. Its size was completely 
justified by the enormity of his brilliance. Initially 
our relationship was shaped by our constant argu- 
ing. Each one tried to prove that he was smarter 
than the other. Ray was a master of the esoteric 
reference. Up until two weeks before he died, 
from his hospital bed, he was determined to quote 
from books he hadn't read. 

He could be very insecure and vulnerable. 
Before speaking on a panel together at the 1989 
Yale Lesbian and Gay Studies Conference, we 
walked around the campus to ease our anxiety. He 
confided in me that he was nervous for two rea- 
sons: he didn't think people would take him seri- 
ously because he lacked an academic education 
(he graduated from an art school), and he didn't 
think people would listen to him because he was 
a person of color. He prepared two lectures for that 
panel. He presented a discussion of AIDS educa- 
tional material made for audiences of people of 
color. The other presentation concerned the sub- 
jectivity of Latino gay men. This topic was the 
subject of a videotape that Ray continued to work 
on through the periods of illness and in spite of his 
blindness. He was not able to finish it. 

Ray became very religious during the last few 
months of his life. During his first hospital stay we 
had our first discussion about religion — the first 
of many. I remember Ray, looking very sad and 
serious, asking me "How can I believe in God 
after I've read Nietzsche?" We both had to laugh 
at the pretention behind that one. It was then we 
both realized that the work of the nineteenth- 
century philosopher and the ideas of many others 
that had influenced us held little relevance to what 
we now faced. We were not prepared for illness 
and death. A week before he died, Ray asked his 
sister Christine to buy me a present. It was a 
volume of poems by Antonin Artaud. The poem 
Ray wanted me to read was titled "To have done 
with the judgment of God." On the first page of the 
book Ray had a message inscribed: "forward to 
our future shared trangressions." This message 
was gracious, fierce, and determined — very much 
like Ray. I love him, and I miss him greatly. 



Gregg Bordowitz is the assistant coordinator of 
audio-visual at the Gay Men's Health Crisis in 
New York City. 

CATHERINE LORD 

Ray, thank you. Thanks for telling me about Los 
Angeles, about good drag bars, about porn thea- 
ters, about Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles. Thanks 
for drawing a huge stupid-looking Mickey Mouse 
in the CalArts hallway with a balloon that said, 
"Mickey says. . .the best is divest! !" (It got one art 
school's endowment out of South Africa.) Speak- 
ing of art schools, thanks for being the baby 
lefty — it's what the lefties on the faculty called 
you — with the big smile who always lugged around 




underlined Art Theory Xeroxes and kept the 
wannabee multi-millionaire painters pissed off by 
bugging them about what it was they were doing. 
Since we were, for a while, teacher and student, 
we argued about pleasure and politics. You wanted 
every last nuance of serious analysis in whatever 
you did. I wanted you to seduce people into action, 
not to berate them or bore them. So Ray, I think 
getting into drag as Jesus Christ at the St. Patrick' s 
demo takes care of that: Jesus just doesn't look the 
same any more, to a lot of people. Thanks for 
telling me bad jokes in St. Vincent's to make me 
feel better about what a mess you were in. (And 
who else would try to read Deleuze and Guattari 
in the hospital so as not to waste time?) Thanks for 
showing me what it means not to give up when I 
needed to know about that. Thank you for becom- 
ing an artist whose work was formed by being gay, 
being radical, and being Chicano, because that 
work had to be invented. A lot of people decide to 
be artists because, contrary to rumor, it can be a 
comfortably unexamined life. But you wanted to 
make a revolution happen, wherever it could, 
whatever it took. Generous and stubborn, you did 
more in your 26 years than most people do in a 
lifetime. All your talking (everybody knows you 
always did most of the talking) was part of your 
work, and it stays around too. What you did makes 
a lot more work thinkable, even possible. Thanks. 

Catherine Lord is the chair of the Department of 
Studio Art at the University of California at Irvine 
and former dean of the Art School at CalArts. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



LETTERS 

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 

try," July 1976. 1 could also mention my own "A Whole 
Technology of Dyeing," which appeared in Daedalus , 
Fall 1985.) 

4. Finally I come to my supposedly "laughable" 
claim that 16mm could have been explored profession- 
ally before it was. Winestine's language begins to defeat 
him at this point. He says, "16mm projection is fre- 
quently painfully bad." While this is certainly true, it 
also clearly implies that such projection frequently isn't 
that bad. Equally, it isn't 35mm — but then I never said 
that it was. I was talking possibilities — for instance, for 
the nascent thirties documentary movement. As to the 
possibility that 28mm might have been exploited, I was 
simply trying to illustrate my thesis — the conservatism 
of the industry. There are roads not taken — and not 
taken because professionals all too often find them 
laughable. Winestine believes somehow that 28mm was 
rejected because 35 and 16 were enough. But 16 wasn't 
yet really to hand. 

Winestine suggests that The Independent should 
have checked the accuracy of my article first. What 
saddens me about his ill-informed letter is not its unnec- 
essary and misplaced rudeness but rather, exactly, his 
own inaccuracies and ignorances. I believe profession- 
als do themselves a disservice when they substitute for 
real understanding of the technological roads not taken 
a simple kneejerk approach which argues (with a curi- 
ous passion, I might add) that whatever exists is the best 
in the best of all possible worlds. Winestine's letter is a 
somewhat lamentable example of this tendency and a 
fine illustration of my thesis about the conservatism of 
professional attitudes. 



NOT SO SUNNY SKIES 

To the editor: 

I was surprised to see the headline for Renee Tajima's 
article "Sun Shines on Florida Independents" [January/ 
February 1991]. U Although it is true that Norm Easter- 
brook is working furiously to obtain contribution-in- 
kind production facilities for Florida filmmakers, a 
couple of clouds are looming larger than ever in the 
Florida skies. This last year, the Florida Endowment for 
the Humanities Board decided that it would no longer 
fund any media, film, or video projects and is not 
accepting any proposals for film/video. This decision 
comes one year after Florida opted not to become a 
member of the Southern Humanities Media Fund, an 
umbrella organization of humanities' councils in the 
Southeast that pool their media funds to provide greater 
support to fewer projects. Only Florida and Louisiana 
opted out of the coalition. Now it looks as if Florida 
filmmakers will lose yet another source of funding. 

Through phone conversations, the FEH has told me 
that past film/video projects have either not been com- 
pleted or have been disappointing productions. Also, 
because film/video is so expensive, they are trying to 
spread their dollars to a greater number of recipients. I 
have suggested to Ann Henderson, FEH director, that 
FEH put together an advisory board of filmmakers to 
ensure future decision-making be guided by those "in 
the know." Aside from $30,000 to Nancy Yasecko and 
$25,000 to Roots of Rhythm, most FEH dollars have 
gone to non-filmmakers. Honestly, I doubt if very many 
English professors could produce programming that I 
would want to see, but that's the avenue FEH has 



pursued in the past. FEH is located in Tampa (8 1 3/272- 
3473). 

Congratulations to Norm Easterbrook for his efforts, 
but I won't be looking for my sunscreen anytime soon. 

— Kristin Andersen 
Tampa, FL 

ASIA SOCIETY ADDENDUM 

To the editor: 

Just a few words about the Asia Society's film 
program. . .other than spelling my name wrong, the facts 
were a little off. I was hired by the Asia Society to 
develop and produce films about Asia. I soon discovered 
that there was no money and no budget. The society's 
film department had recently been dismantled, alleg- 
edly because of lack of funds. Since I could never 
duplicate a successful and wide-ranging film program 
like the one that folded, I decided that a small-scale 
feature film series would be possible with minimal 
funding. I approached the former head of the education 
department, Tim Plummer, who supported the program 
with money from his department. The film series was 
successful from the start. It never earned much money 
for the society, but we usually had a full house. After 
about a year I moved on to produce films and video and 
Somi Roy took over the program. Somi had started as a 
volunteer, but his talent and enthusiasm for film pro- 
gramming made it obvious that he was the right person 
to continue the film series, so with Tim Plummer's 
support the Asia Society hired him on staff. His leaving 
is a loss for the s 
ociety. 

— Barbara Winard 



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THE INDEPENDENT 39 



LAWRENCE SAPADIN: 
A DECADE AT THE HELM 

December 4, 1990, marked the tenth anniversary 
of Lawrence Sapadin's first day on the job as the 
executive director of AIVF. After a decade of 
service, Larry left AIVF at the end of January to 
assume the position of vice president, acquisitions 
at Fox/Lorber Associates, a film and television 
distribution company in New York City. 

The contrast between AIVF's current roster of 
nearly 5,000 members and the mere hundreds 
enrolled in 1980 attests to Larry's leadership and 
his dedication to expanding and improving the 
organization ' s services and outreach to independ- 
ent producers across the country. During his ten- 
ure as director, the programs of AIVF and its 
foundation affiliate FIVF — such as The Inde- 
pendent, the Festival Bureau, various insurance 
packages designed for members, and the trove of 
information available through the AIVF office — 
became mainstays for myriad film/videomakers 
who choose to work outside the structures of 
commercial media. 

Larry came to AIVF after working as a labor 
lawyer. But he was no stranger to independent 
filmmaking, having studied film as an under- 
graduate at the State University of New York at 
Old Westbury . He continued his film education in 
Paris, where he also worked in various cinema-re- 
lated occupations, including a stint at the Cine- 
mateque Francaise. He attended the law school at 
Northeastern University in Boston after returning 
to the States. 

One of Larry's primary contributions to AIVF 
was his unflagging efforts as an advocate for inde- 
pendent mediamakers. He recalls that within days 
of undertaking the directorship of AIVF he re- 



ceived an urgent telephone call from an independ- 
ent producer who wanted to contest a contract 
issued by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting 
for its Independent Anthology series. CPB initi- 
ated the series after Congress directed CPB to 
increase its financing of independent productions 
in a bill that was the result of a protracted lobbying 
campaign mounted by AIVF and other groups 
interested in improving the quality and scope of 
US public television. Larry promptly convinced 
all the recipients of Independent Anthology grants 
not to sign the questionable contract and assisted 
them in negotiating better terms. 

In 1 984, Larry played a key role in founding the 
National Coalition of Public Broadcasting Pro- 
ducers, which was formed in response to CPB's 
repeated reluctance to honor their congressional 
mandate to fund independent production. In the 
late eighties, the Coalition and AIVF then joined 
with individuals and groups around the country in 
renewed efforts on behalf of independent repre- 
sentation in public TV, which led to establishment 
of the Independent Television Service in 1988. 
Throughout and following the lobbying cam- 
paign, Larry acted as co-chair of the Coalition and 
now serves as president and chair of the ITVS. 

Other tangible milestones of Larry's term as 
AIVF chief advocate include the limited contract 
negotiated with the Screen Actors Guild and the 



AND THE WINNERS ARE... 

Ten independent productions were awarded 
$62,500 by the Benton Foundation, the Beldon 
Fund, and the Edelman Family Fund through the 
1990 FIVF Donor- Advised Grant program. 

This year, the Benton Foundation and Beldon 
Fund supported collaborative projects between 
independent producers and nonprofit organiza- 
tions on media dealing with environmental issues. 
Funding was awarded in three categories. 

In the first category, Mark Mori received 
$ 1 0,000 from the Benton Foundation to condense 
Building Bombs, a personal look at the social and 
environmental impact of a nuclear weapons facil- 
ity, for use by Greenpeace, S ANE/Freeze, and the 
Energy Research Foundation. The Beldon Fund 
gave Keyah Productions S 1 0,000 for The Caribou 
People, a tape on the social and cultural, as well as 
environmental threat posed by oil development. 

The second category offered $2,500 to produc- 
ers and environmental groups to collaborate at the 
preproduction stage. The Benton Foundation 
awarded Arlen Slobodow $2,500 to collaborate 
with Environmental Action on Waste Not, a tape 
educating industry to reduce waste. 



Projects funded in the third category did not 
requiring organizational collaboration. The Ben- 
ton Foundation and Beldon Fund awarded Marion 
Lipschutz $10,000 for Niaby: Not in Anyone's 
Backyard, a video about Save Our County's 
campaign against toxic waste incinerators. The 
People's Land: The Cree and Inuit Struggle to 
Preserve James Bay, by Kevin Balling, also re- 
ceived $10,000. 

The Edelman Family awarded $20,000 to five 
projects. Living with Tourette Syndrome, by Laurel 
Chiten, received $4,000. Arthur Dong's Coming 
Out Under Fire, a chronicle of the military expe- 
riences of gay men and lesbians during World 
War n, was given $3,000. Leslie Harris was 
awarded $4,000 for Just Another Girl on the IRT, 
anarrative film on unwanted pregnancy. Palestin- 
ian Diaries, produced by Jonathan Miller and Ilan 
Ziv, received $4,000. Elect the Victim, by Pam 
Yates and Peter Kinoy , the third part of their series 
Up and Out of Poverty, was granted $5,000. 

The 1 990 panelists were Barbara Abrash, Karen 
Hirsch, and Hye Jung Park. Project administrator 
for this year's fund was Kevin Duggan. 



revised rules for deposit issued by the Copyright 
Office. At the same time, he steered AIVF during 
a difficult period of increasing economic and po- 
litical conservatism. In its defense of independent 
media, AIVF protested the National Endowment 
for the Humanities' condemnation of work it had 
funded during the Carter years but which William 
Bennett, head of the agency under Reagan, deemed 
ideologically suspect. And it supported filmmakers 
who had were denied customs waivers by the US 
Information Agency, based on political criteria. 
Larry also worked with a coalition of artists' 
groups to counter tax rules that imposed an ex- 
traordinary burden on film- and videomakers who 
work with low budgets. 

To further the institutional stability and growth 
of AIVF, Larry secured grants from major foun- 
dations and public agencies: the New York State 
Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for 
the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and 
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and a vari- 
ety of smaller grants for AIVF/FTVF endeavors. 
Similarly, he helped design a project to enhance 
international cooperation among independent 
producers, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, 
and oversaw the implementation of a grant-mak- 
ing program for independent projects sponsored 
by the Benton Foundation, the Beldon Fund, and 
the Edelman Family, adminstered by FIVF. 

Commenting on his term at AIVF, Larry cites 
the creation of enhanced opportunities for inde- 
pendent producers within public television as his 
most significant accomplishment. "We did some- 
thing that no one thought could be done." A close 
second in importance, he says, was his develop- 
ment of a professional and productive staff for the 
organization. 

Larry's understanding of the work of inde- 
pendent producers always informed his commit- 
ment to the organization and its members' needs. 
He puts it concisely: "It's a heroic undertaking, 
and I have enormous respect for these artists." We 
at AIVF wish him continued success in all his 
future endeavors. 



UPCOMING FIVF SEMINARS 

FINDING AND WORKING WITH 
A FISCAL SPONSOR 

Tuesday, March 12, 7:00 p.m. 
Downtown Community Television, 
87 Lafayette, NYC 
$5 ATVF members/$10 general public 
This seminar will explain tactics and strate- 
gies to obtain and work with a fiscal agent. 

BENEFIT PLANNING 

FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED 

Tuesday, March 19, 6:15 p.m. 

AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th fl., NYC 

FREE to AIVF members 

Limited to 20. 

Call (212) 473-3400 to reserve a space. 

With financial planner Connie Cohrt. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1991 



NVI... 




The Most Powerful Editing Team in Town. 

(L-R) Paul Green, ferry Newman, Abe Lim, Art Dome, Kathy Schermerhorn, Rich Thomas, John Tanzosh, Dan Williams, 
Doug Tishman, Bruce Tovsky, Phil Fallo, Robert Burden, Phil Reinhardt, Barry Waldman, Phil Falcone, Sean McAll 



With the largest, most experienced and 
best equipped staff in town, it's no wonder 
that our editorial work has increased by 
50% in the last year. And it continues to 
grow. This year we'll be editing a new 
prime time network sitcom which is being 
shot in New York, and all of the material 
for inclusion in the Miss America Pageant 
in September. In the past year we've edited 
commercials for Mercedes-Benz, Grand 
Union, TWA, ShopRite, Oldsmobile, 
Contac, and A&P as well as shows for HA!, 
Lifetime Medical, The Comedy Channel, 
Met Life, The Art Market Report, Toshiba, 
IBM, and LTV. 

And even in these difficult times, you'll 
find that we continue to improve the 
working environment for our primary 
customer, the independent producer who 
is working with his or her own money. On 
the culinary side, we added a better 
lunchtime menu, and cookies and fruit in 
the afternoon. On the equipment side we 
added five more D-2 machines, a Rank 
with Sunburst II for color correcting film 



and tape, an AMS AudioFile and audio 
recording booth, color cameras for the 7 
on-line edit rooms, and computerized off- 
line editing to the seventh floor. Speaking 
of floors, we'll be utilizing the second floor 
of our building on 17th Street for the first 
time in the coming year, bringing to a total 
of ten, the floors used for NVI customers 
and the necessary support services. 

In terms of equipment, you'll be seeing the 
introduction of the first all D-2 editing 
suite in New York City with the installation 
of The Abekas A-82 Switcher in Edit A this 
fall, as well as the the addition of the 
exciting new Digital F/X Composium and 
Wavefront 3D animation to our established 
electronic graphics department. 

And without knowing what our competit- 
ors are up to all the time, you can still rest 
assured that you are getting the most 
experience, the best equipment and the 
most accommodating service at the lowest 
possible price. If you want some help on 
your next project, call NVI! 



NVI 



National Video Industries, Inc. 

15 West 17th Street 

New York, NY 10011 

212 691-1300 Fax: 633-8536 




IN RESPONSE to our December announcement, National Video Resources, a new 
project of The Rockefeller Foundation which seeks to strengthen the distribu- 
tion of independent film and video on videocassette, received requests from 
many of you to be added to its mailing list. Thanks. 

The second issue of NVR Reports, entitled " Fiber Optics & the Future of Television " 
discusses the potential this technology holds for the independent community. 

If you forgot to let us know that you want to be added to our permanent mailing 
list, call us at 21 2-274-8080 or write to NVR, 73 Spring Street, Room 606, New York, 
NY 10012. Tell us your profession: producer, distributor, or whatever, and be sure 
to include your zip code. 



We look forward to hearing from those who did not hear from us. 



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!N)EPEN)ENr 



APRIL 1991 

VOLUME 14, NUMBER 3 



Editor: 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 

Art Director: 

Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
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Mark Nash 
Karen Rosenberg 
Toni Treadway 
Patricia White 
Jeanne Brei 
Christopher Holme 
Laura D. Davis 
(212)473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ 07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published 10 times yearly by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 
625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212) 
473-3400, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational foun- 
dation dedicated to the promotion of video and film, 
and by the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals involved in inde- 
pendent video and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and professional services 
for independents and the general public. Publication of 
The Independent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and 
the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned unless a 
stamped, self-addressed envelope is included. No 
responsibility is assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to 
the editor. Letters may be edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, Inc. Reprints require written 
permission and acknowledgement of the article's pre- 
vious appearance in The Independent. ISSN 0731- 
5198. The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 1991 



AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Kathryn Bowser, acting 
executive director, festival bureau director; Martha Gever, 
interim advocacy director; Mary Jane Skalski, 
membership/programming director; Morton Marks, 
audio/business manager; Carol Selton, administrative 
assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Eugene 
Aleinikoff,* Skip Blumberg (vice president), Christine 
Choy, Dee Davis (secretary), Loni Ding, Lisa Frigand,* 
Adrianne B. Furniss,*Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (chair), Jim Klein, 
Regge Life,* Tom Luddy,* Lourdes Portillo, Robert Richter 
(president), Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage, * 
Jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, Debra Zimmerman (treasurer). 



* FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 




COVER: During the decade between 1965 
and 1975, Robert Kramer produced 
numerous feature films showing the New 
Left movement from within, such as Ice, a 
political fiction of urban insurrection. Soon 
after, Kramer left the US, finally settling in 
Paris. In this issue, the filmmaker talks 
about his most recent work. Route One/ 
USA, and his return to the US after 1 3 
years. Still from Ice courtesy Museum of 
Modern Art Film Stills Archive. 



FEATURES 

26 Back in the USA: An Interview with Expatriate Filmmaker 
Robert Kramer 

by Roy Lekus 

32 Black Macho Revisited: Reflections of a SNAP! Queen 

by Marlon Riggs 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Operation Dissidence: Access Producers Activate the 
Gulf Crisis TV Project 

by Dominic Faccini 

Distributors Join Forces in New Association 

by Isabelle Freda 

PBS Video Distribs Play Monopoly 

by Barbara Osborn 

Gloom Looms over Sundance 

by Clare O'Shea 

Two Theatrical Divisions Open Shop 
Sequels 

14 FIELD REPORTS 

Homo Promo: The Lookout Lesbian and Gay Video Festival 

by Thomas Harris 

What's Wrong with Multiculturalism? Shooting the System 
Conference in Toronto 

by Renee Tajima 

Stock in Trade: Selling Footage to Broadcasters 

by Susan Gilbert 

20 TALKING HEADS 

Scene Change: Playwright David Henry Hwang Moves into Film 

by Patricia Thomson 

22 IN FOCUS 

What the Manual Didn't Tell You: Audio for Video 

by Rick Feist 

35 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

38 FESTIVALS 

by Kathryn Bowser 

40 CLASSIFIEDS 

43 NOTICES 

46 PROGRAM NOTES 

An AIVF/CPB Exchange 

48 MEMORANDA 



APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 3 



OPERATION DISSIDENCE 



Access Producers Activate the Gulf 



Crisis TV Project 



IVlixing 

pedagogy, humor, 
and anger, and 
drawing from a 
panoply of 
oppositional voices, 
the Gulf Crisis TV 
Project drew 
widespread 
attention among 
war opponents, 
fueling activism 
and filling lacunae 
in coverage. 



During the week of January 15, as the United 
Nations deadline for withdrawal from Kuwait 
approached and with it the imminence of war, 
close to a million television viewers tuned into a 
two-hour program seeking alternatives to war, the 
Gulf Crisis TV Project. Coproduced by public 
access cable groups Paper Tiger Television and 
Deep Dish TV, this series marks a watershed in 
the collaboration between the video collective 
and the cable access satellite distributor, which 
dates back to 1985. Unlike previous programs, 
which were limited to public access outlets on 
cable television, the Gulf Crisis TV Project was 
also broadcast on public television, thanks to the 
involvement of WYBE-TV in Philadelphia. 
WYBE acted as the presenting station, offering 
the programs free to PBS affiliates. The four half- 
hour shows were also picked up by Channel Four 
in Great Britain — another first. More significantly, 
Channel Four followed up with a presale of 
$30,000, which will provide the financial back- 
bone for a second set of six half-hour shows on the 
war and its political and historical backdrop, 
scheduled to air beginning February 19. Finally, 
the Gulf Crisis TV Project represents a new direc- 
tion for Deep Dish TV and Paper Tiger, toward a 
more rapid assembly and distribution of timely 
programs. 

Mixing pedagogy, humor, and anger, and draw- 
ing from a panoply of oppositional voices, the 
Gulf Crisis TV Project drew widespread attention 
among war opponents, fueling activism and fill- 
ing lacunae in coverage. The programs make no 
bones about taking an antiwar position, and the 
production collective is working with the two 
largest movements to stop the war: the Coalition 
to Stop US Intervention in the Mideast and the 
National Campaign for Peace in the Mideast. In 
putting the series together, more than 1,000 
community groups and cable stations were con- 
tacted. These groups submitted over 200 tapes, 
which ranged from edited works to raw footage. 
These in turn were crafted into four half-hour 
programs by five Paper Tiger producers under the 
direction of coordinating producer Kathy Scott: 
War, Oil, and Power, on the petroleum-based 
origins of US involvement in the Persian Gulf; 
Operation Dissidence, on the press' role in focus- 
ing and limiting public debate; Getting Out of the 
Sand Trap, on possible solutions to the crisis; and 
Troops Out Now, on peace activism in the US. 

The second series, begun after the outbreak of 
war, is intended to be more historical and analytic 



than the first, which, according to Paper Tiger's 
Martin Lucas, was primarily intended to raise the 
profile of oppositional viewpoints. The spring 
series will provide an investigation into media 
coverage, racism directed against Arab Ameri- 
cans, peace proposals, an analysis of historical 
background, footage from international sources 
and resistance groups, as well as questions on the 
allocation of funds for military and domestic 
programs. It will conclude on March 27 with a live 
teach-in at Harvard University. 

Reflecting on the cable access producers ' break- 
through to a tremendously expanded audience, 
Lucas is quick to stress that it was "not an acci- 
dent." On the contrary, explains Lucas, who is 
coordinating producer for the second series, "we 
got on the case early." Deep Dish sent out a call for 
tapes in early November and broadcast the com- 
pleted programs just two months later. Lucas 
attributes their efficacy to the fact that they were 
"building on an already existing, 10-year-old 
infrastructure which was begun with Paper Tiger, 
where we developed an aesthetic and a format. 
Then we created a network with Deep Dish." 
Lucas adds, "The debate surrounding the war was 
controlled, issues weren't being explored, and 
people were looking for something else." 

Such intense activity has stretched Paper Ti- 
ger's producers to the limit. The gulf crisis team 
has now swelled from five on the first series to 12 
on the second. With the Gulf Crisis TV Project, 
the question arose as to whether the shape and 
aims of the collective would change to incorpo- 
rate this brand of newsgathering. Lucas responds 
affirmatively, explaining, "People are realizing 
the need for alternative news reporting. We are 
trying to make this longer term, to set up a struc- 
ture, a network. We have now gotten to the point 
where need and capability have come together to 
create alternative programming." Deep Dish 
cofounder Martha Wallner echoes these thoughts: 
"Deep Dish has always looked to do these timely 
programs. We are hoping to leave some slots open 
in addition to our regular prerecorded program- 
ming — what we call 'timely slots.'" 

Despite the breakthrough the Gulf Crisis Pro- 
ject represents, there are as yet no firm financial 
commitments for the longer term. The budget for 
the first four programs ran $25,000, and the pro- 
ducers are trying to raise $75,000 for the second 
series of six programs, plus the teach-in. Wallner 
points out how funders are reluctant to aid "infra- 
structural support. People don't want to support a 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



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Oppositional media to the 
war in the Persian Gulf was 
collected, packaged, and 
aired quickly through the 
Gulf Crisis TV Project, a 
series organized by Paper 
Tiger TV and Deep Dish 
Television. 

Courtesy Gulf Crisis TV Project 



more long-term project that talks of social prob- 
lems." Noting Channel Four's presale. she adds, 
"It makes you cry about the domestic situation." 

DOMINIC FACCtNI 

Dominic Faccini is a freelance writer who 
contributes to Sight and Sound. 

DISTRIBUTORS JOIN FORCES 
IN NEW ASSOCIATION 

In anticipation of the rapidly shifting terrain of 
media technology, distribution patterns, and audi- 
ence composition in the 1990s, independent dis- 
tributors have banded together to form a new 
national confederation, the Independent Media 
Distributors Alliance (IMDA). This new mem- 
bership network was announced last November at 
the Immediate Impact conference sponsored by 
Media Network in New York City. 

Composed as a loose confederation rather than 
a more cumbersome organization with the related 
bureaucracy and overhead, IMDA is intended to 
provide an arena for collaboration and informa- 
tion-sharing among nonprofit and commercial 
distributors of independent fare. IMDA's mem- 
bership presently consists of approximately three 
dozen distributors as well as a number of media 
centers, such as the South Carolina Arts Commis- 
sion, which worked with distributors on last year's 
NewView satellite teleconference and market 
showcase. IMDA's steering committee consists 
of a vivid spectrum of independent distributors: 
Appalshop, Cross Currents/National Asian Ameri- 
can Telecommunications Association. Fanlight 
Productions, New Day Films, Paper Tiger TV, the 
Video Project, Video Data Bank, and Women 
Make Movies. 

Battling the fragmented and homogenized 
nature of information and communication in the 
1990s, which tends to marginalize and exclude 
alternative media products, IMDA is intended to 
facilitate communications among independent 
distributors, as well as between them and their 
audiences. Their mission statement declares. "We 
are dedicated both to creative integrity and to the 



economic survival of the producers whose work 
we distribute.... We are equally committed to 
understanding and meeting the needs of commu- 
nities and audiences who use our programming, 
as well as educating and developing new audi- 
ences for independent work." IMDA also states 
that it seeks to strengthen the field through net- 
working and resource sharing, developing com- 
mon strategies for audience development and ex- 
pansion, exploring new technologies and ap- 
proaches to distribution, and advocating for the 
interest of independent producers, distributors, 
and their audiences. 

IMDA's first major project is the production of 
a membership directory, which is currently pro- 
ceeding with the assistance of a $10,000 grant 
from the New York State Council on the Arts. 
According to Bob Gale, former distribution direc- 
tor of Intermedia Arts who was hired as IMDA's 
part-time coordinator, the directory is intended 
primarily for users of media, more than producers. 
These buyers currently lack a comprehensive guide 
to sources of independent film and video. 

IMDA is currently at press with its second issue 
of Pipeline, a newsletter linking members and 
offering information on recent developments and 
activities. The first issue covered such topics as 
personnel changes, nev/ly released distributor 
catalogues, organizational restructurings (e.g., 
Black Filmmaker Foundation's move away from 
distribution and toward membership services), 
and the availability of computer on-line services, 
such as the MAIN Travel Sheet through America 
Online. 

IMDA is planning its second annual meeting in 

March, at which time the membership will elect a 

new steering committee. Membership is open to 

any current distributor of independent film or 

video who supports the goals of the organization 

and is willing to collaborate with their peers. 

Contact: Bob Gale. IMDA coordinator, at (612) 

298-01 17; or write: Art Base, Box 2154, St. Paul, 

MN 55102. 

ISABELLE FREDA 

Isabelle Freda is a graduate student in Cinema 
Studies at New York University. 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



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Independent distributors and PBS 
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PBS VIDEO DISTRIBS 
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In its most recent strategy for fi- 
nancial survival in a competitive 
marketplace, the Public Broadcast- 
ing Service (PBS) has again found 
itself at odds with independents. 
This time the issue is promotion 
and marketing — specifically, 
whether independent distributors 
and producers may use the PBS 
logo and name in promoting video- 
tapes that have aired on public tele- 
vision, and, secondly, the use of 
toll-free 800 telephone numbers to 
sell programs off-air. The newly formed Indepen- 
dent Media Distributors Alliance (IMDA) claims 
that PBS 's regulations "walk dangerously close to 
extortion" and "provide an unfair competitive 
advantage" to PBS Video, which distributes to the 
educational market, and to PBS Home Video, 
PBS's coventure with the home video distributor 
Pacific Arts. 

The controversy heated up last fall when Mitch- 
ell Block, president of Direct Cinema, received a 
preemptive letter from PBS legal staff prohibiting 
the use of the PBS logo and name on promotional 
materials. Subsequent contact with PBS revealed 
that, as a result of the PBS/Pacific Arts deal, 
independent distributors were prohibited from 
using the PBS logo, and that any reference to PBS 
might be considered a legal infringement of PBS ' s 
exclusive license to Pacific Arts. In their position 
paper titled "Imperial Ventures: PBS Moves into 
the Distribution Business." IMDA protested, "the 
names PBS Video and PBS Home Video un- 
fairly — and falsely — imply that the com- 
panies. ..are, respectively, the sole institutional 
and home video source for all programs broadcast 
by PBS.... But [they] are just two among many 
dozens of distributors of titles broadcast by PBS." 
Any show seen on PBS, insists IMDA, should be 
able to make use of this fact in its marketing 
efforts. 

Pacific Arts president Al Cattabiani responds 
that the logo is essential to their marketing efforts. 
To carry PBS video without exclusive right to the 
logo would be "like McDonald's without the 
arches," he says. Robert Harris and Robert Fried- 
man, copyright lawyers at New York law firm 
Levy, Rosensweig, and Hyman, confirm PBS's 
legal right to license their trademark logo — the 




PBS head — and to control any implied endorse- 
ment, but use of the letters PBS is more ambigu- 
ous. PBS assistant general counsel Steven Gitel- 
man agrees with Harris and Friedman that the use 
of phrases like "as seen on PBS" or "a PBS Video 
from" are less clearly within PBS's right to regu- 
late. Statements of fact are perfectly legal. The 
benign phrase "as seen on public television" is 
unquestionably within the rights of any producer 
publicizing a work exhibited on public TV. 

On-air offers and the use of 800 telephone 
numbers opened a second old wound between 
distributors and PBS. Rule 8(e) of the PBS Guide- 
lines provides that nonprofit distributors and 
producers, as well as public television stations, 
may make on-air offers using an 800 number at 
the end of a PBS broadcast. Even so, PBS seems 
confused about its policies. Although a letter last 
lune from PBS president Bruce Christensen to 
Teresa Stanion, director of government relations 
for the International Communications Industries 
Association (ICIA), makes clear that nonprofit 
distributors can use a PBS 800 number, Cathy 
Lykes of PBS program business affairs says, 
"Distributors can 't make offers." The exception is 
PBS Home Video and PBS Video. Thus, produc- 
ers must either contract with PBS Home Video or 
PBS Video, forgo use of the 800 number if they 
have another distributor, or approach individual 
PBS stations directly to work out a deal. 

Block and other distributors were particularly 
miffed that Pacific Arts — a for-profit company — 
was given access to an 800 number. PBS explains 
that its own affiliates, not Pacific Arts, are the 
nonprofit companies that provide the cassettes, 
sell them to consumers, and use them during 
membership drives. Stations purchase the cas- 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



settes at an unspecified "steep discount," reports 
Cattabiani. But other distributors don't accept the 
rationale. Stanion says PBS has found a way for 
affiliate stations to act as subdistributors for Pa- 
cific Arts. 

In protesting what it sees as discriminatory 
restrictions, IMDA writes that PBS's marketing 
policies "deprive producers of the freedom to 
select their own distributor, [and] they walk dan- 
gerously close to extortion." They argue, "Be- 
cause producers will be less willing to place their 
titles with other distributors if that precludes their 
making an on-air offer, PBS Video is given an 
unfair competitive advantage in the arena perhaps 
most crucial to a distributor's future: the compe- 
tition for product." Producers inclined to contract 
with an independent distributor will inevitably be 
tempted by PBS 's market clout, logo, 800 tag, and 
capital. Both PBS video operations are doing well 
financially. In 1989, PBS Video brought in $4.5- 
million in revenue and PBS Home Video, carried 
in every major video chain, met its initial sales 
projections of 150,000 units after only months in 
operation. 

PBS policies don't preclude an entrepreneurial 
independent producer or distributor from ap- 
proaching PBS stations with a similar deal. But if 
a distributor or producer were to do so, Block 
points out, they would end up selling inventory to 
the stations at only 60 percent of the retail price. 
As an alternative. Block is in the early planning 
stages of developing a new entity, the Indepen- 
dent Video Information Service. As a nonprofit 
corporation meeting all PBS specifications, it 
would offer an 800 number and convenient ship- 
ping facility to all independents with work on PBS 
and their distributors, both commercial and non- 
profit. 

This legal dispute over 800 numbers and logos 
is only the tip of the iceberg. The larger issue at 
stake is the transformation of the video market- 
place. For nearly a decade, turf wars between 
educational and consumer distributors have been 
breaking out as the two markets blur. And now the 
marketing advantages PBS's two video outfits 
offer an additional level of tension as they and in- 
dependent distributors both vie for the same buyers. 

For instance, California Newsreel's Larry 
Daressa complains that the educational market for 
Jim Brown's documentary We Shall Overcome is 
being undercut by PBS Home Video, which sells 
the film for $ 1 9.95 . According to Cattabiani, PBS 
Home Video does not sell to schools or libraries. 
But there's always seepage. A portion of Pacific 
Arts' distribution is handled by jobbers, who 
deliver videos to supermarkets and shopping 
centers and are hard to control. Budget-starved 
college faculty rent or buy tapes for a few dollars 
at the local video store and present them in class 
the next day. The low prices of PBS's two dis- 
tributors have also put pressure on other distribu- 
tors to bring their prices down. Ken Burn's 11- 
hour The Civil War, handled by PBS Video, was 
sold to the educational market at $350, while 

APRIL 1991 



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independent distributors would have priced it at 
$250 per hour, says Block. He adds that PBS is 
also "product dumping," citing a recent offer from 
PBS Video to the New York State library system 
that makes any tape from its 1989 catalog avail- 
able for $26. 

A more pernicious development lies just below 
the surface of these market scuffles, particularly 
as the home market becomes more and more 
lucrative. As Daressa cautions, "The more PBS 
skews productions forpotential home market sales, 
the more it becomes captive to the commercial 
market. It's the tail wagging the dog. The danger 
is that everything will become home video and 
that the discrete educational market will disap- 
pear." 

BARBARA OSBORN 

Barbara Osborn is a LA-based writer covering 
the television industry. 

GLOOM LOOMS OVER 
SUNDANCE 

Financial problems, staff layoffs, and allegations 
of mismanagement have put a damper on the 
Sundance Institute during its tenth anniversary. 
According to Gary Beer, the Institute's newly 
appointed executive vice president, a number of 
programs have been curtailed because of cuts 
amounting to one-third of the institute's budget 
and staff, but there will be no direct impact on the 
core film programs or the Sundance Film Festival. 
Sundance Institute, located on the grounds of 
Robert Redford's Sundance resort east of Provo, 
Utah, was launched in 1981 to foster the develop- 
ment of independent filmmakers, writers, and 
producers. Conceived during the same period as 
George Lukas' Skywalker Ranch, the Sundance 
Institute was meant to counterbalance Sky walker' s 
technical orientation, emphasizing instead what 
Redford calls the "human factor." Independents 
and industry resource people came together first 
through Sundance's renowned June Workshops, 
and later through such programs as the screen- 



writers' lab, an annual conference for producers, 
and the Sundance Film Festival (formerly called 
the United States Film Festival). Eventually, the 
institute also branched out to include labs for film 
composers, film choreographers, and playwrights, 
plus a children's theater. 

Sundance's budget for fiscal year 1990-91 was 
slashed to $1.7-million, down from $2.3-million 
in 1989. Full-time staff at the main office in Utah 
now numbers 1 1 , reduced from 1 5 . "Program cuts 
were in the performing arts," says Beer, who 
previously headed the institute from 1985 to 1988. 
"We've eliminated two residencies — one for 
choreographers and one for composers. And the 
personnel cuts were all for those programs." The 
playwrights' lab will continue, but not as part of 
the institute. Beer expects next year's budget to 
remain steady at $1.7- or $1.8-million. 

Although the health of the Sundance Film 
Festival in January appeared robust, bringing in 
26 percent more registration income than last 
year, spirits were lowered after an article appeared 
in the February issue of the film magazine Pre- 
miere, which hit the newsstands as the 1991 
festival was in progress. In the article Premiere 
editor Peter Biskind details Sundance's difficul- 
ties, which include inadequate leadership, shrink- 
ing staff morale, management's alleged misuse of 
funds, and accusations of conflicts of interest on 
the part of Redford and various board members. 
Biskind concludes that an injection of funds would 
not in itself be enough to resolve the problems 
threatening the continued existence of Sundance. 
A "seven-figure deficit," he writes, is not as po- 
tentially damaging as the possibility that Sun- 
dance "has been compromised by the commercial 
realities of Hollywood." One such compromise is 
the breakdown of Sundance's original commit- 
ment to independent filmmakers. Independents 
no longer hold as significant a place on the board 
of directors as they once did and are now far 
outnumbered by representatives from the main- 
stream film industry. And, according to Biskind, 
the filmmakers attending the institute these days 
may be "more interested in getting a foothold in 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



An article in the February issue of Premiere 
magazine detailing troubles at Robert 
Redford's Sundance Institute cites potential 
conflicts-of-interest as the main problem 
plaguing the filmmakers' retreat. 

the industry than in enjoying the ethereal pleas- 
ures of Sundance's famous 'freedom to fail.'" 

Despite a guardedly optimistic conclusion, the 
Premiere article was not exactly welcome public- 
ity for Sundance. Journalist Jennine Lanouette, 
who attended this year's festival, saw evidence of 
Sundance's financial hardship in the reduction of 
benefits for filmmakers and in the number of 
parties. Lanouette also talked to a number of 
festival-goers who spoke of "a depressed atmos- 
phere" because of the Premiere article. But while 
Sundance officials are publicly optimistic about 
the institute 's future, it remains to be seen whether 
Sundance will continue the same level of commit- 
ment to independent film that guided its first 10 
years. 

CLARE O'SHEA 
Clare O'Shea is a recent graduate of the Cinema 
Studies department at New York University. 

TWO THEATRICAL DIVISIONS 
OPEN SHOP 

The film distributors Miramax and New Line 
have set up new theatrical divisions. With the 
formation of Prestige and Fine Line Features 
respectively, the companies establish separate 
distribution channels and marketing strategies for 
what both believe is an increasing US demand for 
foreign and independent films. These divisions 
have been spurred on by such surprise successes 
as Miramax's Sex, Lies, and Videotape and New 
Line's Metropolitan. Two figures well accus- 
tomed to marketing independent and foreign work 
pick up the gauntlet: New Line's New York divi- 
sion, Fine Line Features, will be headed by former 
Cinecom cofounder Ira Deutchman, and Mark 
Lipsky returns to Miramax to direct Prestige. 
Lipsky had been Miramax's vice president of 
marketing and distribution before striking off on 
his own to form the independent distribution 
company Silverlight Entertainment. 

The rationale behind the formation of these 
separate divisions stems from a desire to avoid a 
schizophrenia that might result from attempts to 
market and distribute simultaneously films such 
as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Metropoli- 
tan — two of New Line's releases from last year 
which obviously require starkly divergent busi- 
ness strategies — within the same division. Lipsky 
explains that at Miramax/Prestige, "Each type of 
film has now been given its own home; each one 
gets the best distribution possible." As both Lipsky 
and Deutchman reason, such a move is necessary 
for any serious pledge to specialized films. Both 
believe such films do not lack audiences, but 
rather audiences take time to find the films. Deutch- 





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man expects to distribute five to six films per year, 
Lipsky seven to eight. 

Despite the structural similarities between 
Prestige and Fine Line Features, there are signifi- 
cant differences in the types of films they are 
pursuing. Prestige has targeted mainly foreign 
films: Lipsky expects a ratio of something like 70 
to 30 in favor of foreign fare. He is adamant, 
however, that this should not deter US indepen- 
dents from submitting work. First releases at 
Prestige include Carlos Saura's foreign language 
Oscar nominee Ay, Carmela!, Peter Greenaway's 
eccentric fourth feature Drowning by Numbers, 
popular French director Etienne Chatilliez ' s Tatie 
Danielle, and US director Shirley Sun's Iron and 
Silk. 

In contrast to Prestige, Fine Line Features' 
most important source of product will be US 
independents. As of February, Deutchman has 
officially signed on only one film — Hal Hartley's 
Trust, the director's second collaboration with 
producer Bruce Weiss, following his 1990 
production The Unbelievable Truth. "Determin- 
ing which films to distribute," says Deutchman, 
"will depend on uniqueness and thus is hard to 
quantify. Unlike a major studio which is looking 
for the next Ghost, our market is quite the con- 
trary. We are looking for the first something. 
Quality has a lot to do with it." 

For further information contact: Fine Line 
Features, 1500 Broadway, #201 1 , New York, NY 
10036; (212) 221-2410. Prestige, 18 East 48th St., 
#1601, New York, NY 10017; (212) 888-4587. 

DF 

SEQUELS 

National Video Resources, formed by the 
Rockefeller Foundation in March of last year, 
received a nod of approval from the foundation in 
the form of a $1 -million grant for 1991 ["National 
Video Resources," November 1990]. In its first 
year NVR has commissioned and published spe- 
cial reports on video marketing via 800 numbers 
and fiber optic transmissions. They underwrote 
the publication of Independent Producer's Guide 
to Distributors and Alternative Visions: Distrib- 
uting Independent Video in a Home Video World. 
Projects now underway include a model video 
rental section within a museum art shop; curating 
and marketing for the Green Video Collection, a 
selections of environmental tapes; promotion of 
the home video release of eight features by Afri- 
can filmmakers; and a field study of the institu- 
tional market, to be conducted by the Harvard 
Business School. 

♦ ♦ *f* 

Florida's Division of Cultural Affairs announced 
in their February newsletter that "the expansion of 
the Individual Artist Fellowship program in Media 
Arts has been delayed due to the state revenue 
shortfall." The new program was to provide equip- 
ment access to independent producers, and was 
aiming for the eventual participation of the major 



film studios in the area ["Sun Shines on Florida 
Independents," January/February 1991, and 
"Letters," March 1991]. Despite the setback, 
program development is expected to continue. 



After PBS and the Discovery Channel con- 
ducted a feasibility study of a joint cable channel, 
the two parties have put their plans on hold. The 
main obstacles are the current economic recession 
and the lack of channel space on most cable 
systems. Nevertheless, PBS is venturing into what 
it dubs cable syndication with the creation of PBS 
Distribution Services. Focusing on local markets, 
the new nonprofit company will begin by selling 
programming from PBS. as well as WNET-New 
York and WGBH-Boston, the two stations in- 
volved in the feasibility study. 



The New York-based Independent Feature Proj- 
ect has named Sandy Mandelberger program 
and market director for 1991. Karol Martesko 
has been designated acting executive director of 
the IFP until the appointment of a permanent 
director this spring. In California, Patrick Scott 
has stepped down as executive director of the 
Independent Feature Project/West. A search for 
his replacement will commence after the Indepen- 
dent Spirit Awards ceremony. Frameline, the San 
Francisco lesbian and gay media organization, 
has a new distribution manager in place, Nancy 
Fishman. 



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The Lookout 



HOMO PROMO 

Lesbian and Gay Video Festival 



THOMAS HARRIS 



Ihe audience knew 
that these tapes had 
been made for them. 
They arrived with 
high expectations, 
revved up and ready 
to see uncensored 
tapes that reflected 
the realities and the 
unique artistic 
expressions of 
lesbians and gay 
men. 



Have you ever heard of a festival that featured 18 
hours of new lesbian and gay videotapes? Well 
wait, watch, then. ..Lookout! Lookout was the 
ambitious lesbian and gay video festival which 
succeeded in pulling off such a feat. Sponsored by 
New York City's Downtown Community Televi- 
sion, the Lookout festival spanned the course of 
six consecutive October evenings. A total of 76 
tapes ranging from one-and-a-half to 75 minutes 
were organized into 13 thematic programs with 
such headings as Homo Promo, Fractured Fairy 
Tales, and Cruisin' the Rubyfruit. Each program 
consisted of an array of tapes, including docu- 
mentaries, dramatic works, gay and lesbian maga- 
zine programs, and experimental fictions. 

Unlike gay and lesbian film festivals held at 
larger movie theaters, the atmosphere of the 
Lookout festival was both intimate and relaxed, 
and yet quite charged. The audience knew that 
these tapes had been made for them. They arrived 
with high expectations, revved up and ready to see 
uncensored tapes that reflected the realities and 
the unique artistic expressions of lesbians and gay 
men. Some came because they knew the video- 
makers or had heard about the tapes. Others came 
for particular thematic programs. For instance, 
one person who was contemplating working in the 
phone sex industry attended the Laws and Skins 
program specifically to see Andrew Pinter 'sRojo 
Vivo, a story of a Mexican hustler, as well as Carol 
Leigh's Outlaw Poverty Not Prostitutes . 

In DCTV's large screening room, tapes played 
on two monitors on either side of a large projec- 
tion screen. Specific programs such as AIDS 
Media/tion, Lesbian Autographs. Boy's Night, 
Color Shifts, and Laws and Skins were decided 
favorites, playing to packed houses. There was 
uninhibited howling as diva drag queen Tracy 
Africa elucidated the virtues of safer sex in David 
Bronstein's Gots to Be a Drag (produced for the 
Gay Men ' s Health Crisis series of safer sex shorts); 
murmuring about "the first female-to-male trans- 
sexual love affair in herstory," the central figure in 
Annie Sprinkle, Johnny Armstrong, and Al 
Jaccoma's LindalLes and Annie; and affirming 
with a snap truths told in Marlon Riggs' Affirma- 
tions. 

Each evening during the half hour between 
programs, DCTV's lobby turned into an im- 
promptu community center. People exiting one 
program mingled, chatted, and exchanged thoughts 
about tapes they had just seen with people waiting 
for the next program. In the screening room, 
videomakers like Richard Fung, Jocelyn Taylor, 



and the House of Color collective discussed their 
work and fielded questions. 

Most of the people of color came specifically to 
see work that pertained to their experiences and 
communities. Lookout drew its largest audience 
of people of color with the Color Shifts program, 
which was devoted exclusively to works explor- 
ing the interplay of cultural, racial, and sexual 
identities. However, festival curator Catherine 
Saalfield's effort to include tapes with a large 
diversity of perspectives in each program was 
successful. A significant presence of tapes by 
black, Latina/o, Asian, and Native American les- 
bian and gay producers proved quite refreshing. 
More importantly, this work enriched the festival 
by providing a diversity of perspectives, and the 
retrospective of the work of Chinese Trinidadian 
Richard Fung, who lives in Canada, underscored 
the importance of these issues. 

Fung's two experimental documentaries about 
inherited identities opened the festival. In The 
Way to My Father's Village and My Mother's 
Place, his latest work, the artist traces both his 
paternal and maternal roots backwards from 
Canada to Trinidad to small villages in China. In 
the process, he explores the legacy of national and 
ethnic identities, migration, and the simply "ordi- 
nary" experiences that influenced his parents' 
lives and consequently his own. Neither of these 
tapes, however, explicitly discusses Fung's own 
homosexuality. However, in emphasizing his 
inquiry into questions of heritage, he implicitly 
highlights the complex, multifaceted identities of 
gay men and lesbians of color — identities formed 
in a society that is both homophobic and racist. 
Because these concerns are seldom aired in largely 
white gay and lesbian media venues nor in the 
activist agencies of communities of color, a com- 
mon misconception is that gay men and lesbians 
are all white. Fung's first tape, Orientations, pro- 
vides a corrective view through interviews with 
over a dozen Asian gay men and lesbians, who 
speak at length about homophobia, racism, cul- 
tural identity, and sex. 

Acknowledging the varied components of one 's 
identity as well as the particular role location 
play s in the construction of identity is a theme that 
was foregrounded in many of the tapes by people 
of color shown at the festival. House of Color's 
recent Probe is based on a series of interviews 
with gay men and lesbians of color about finding 
a space within largely white-defined gay and les- 
bian culture. Early in the tape one character points 
out that a person of color is "not just a skin color 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 




but a way of being." In Gita Sn\Qr\3.\SecondGen- 
eration, Once Removed the videomaker contem- 
plates her mixed Asian and European heritage, ul- 
timately proposing a synthetic identity for herself. 
Mona Smith's Honored by the Moon explores the 
experience and the history of Native American 
lesbians and gay men within their communities 
and families. 

In Father Knows Best Jocelyn Taylor explores 
the dual nature of families: frequently functioning 
simultaneously as a source of nourishment in a 
racist society and as an institution that supports 
repressive homophobia. In a simple interview 
with her father about his thoughts on sexuality, 
Taylor presents his homophobic assumptions and 
beliefs as they enter into conflict with his feelings 
of love and respect for his daughter. Tapes such as 
Fung's Chinese Characters and Melissa Chang's 
You Thrive on Mistaken Identity delineate the 
negative images reproduced in racial stereotypes. 
And Fung's new Asian Positive speaks to the re- 
lationship between the particular invisibility of 
lesbians and gay men of color and a community's 
lack of access to information on AIDS and safer 
sex practices. 

The festival also featured a good number of 
international perspectives on being a lesbian/gay 
person of color. Graciela Sanchez' Not Because 
Fidel Says So investigates the repression of lesbi- 
ans and gays in Cuba. Following the screening of 
Sanchez' tape, a woman in the audience remarked 
that it made her "reflect on our situation here and 
put it in perspective. It made me see the impor- 
tance of exercising our rights as fully as possible." 
The festival also offered a number of programs 
from the British series Out on Tuesday, the lesbian 
and gay magazine show produced by Channel 



In his experimental documentary The Way to 
My Father's Village, which opened the Lookout 
Festival, Richard Fung traces his paternal roots, 
from Canada to Trinidad to China. 

Courtesy Video Data Bank 



Four, which featured several segments on lesbi- 
ans and gay men of color. One of these, Pratibha 
Parmar's Flesh and Paper, is a lyrical portrait of 
Indian lesbian poet and writer Suniti Namjoshi. In 
another segment, Sunil Gupta profiles British 
artist Allan deSouza, a gay Asian man who inter- 
rogates sexual and ethnic identity in his multime- 
dia art works. 

Surprisingly the Out on Tuesday programs 
were the most poorly attended on the festival 
schedule. Concurrently New York lesbians and 
gays were protesting the lack of lesbian/gay pro- 
gramming on local public television station 
WNET, demanding that the station make a com- 
mitment to a regular lesbian and gay show. There- 
fore, one might have expected the turnout for a 
successfully produced gay and lesbian television 
series to be greater. On the other hand, in defend- 
ing its programming decisions in this regard, 
WNET has repeatedly cited the scarcity of lesbian 
and gay media. They would have benefited by 
exposure to the tapes at the Lookout Festival. 

Most of the work in the festival was produced 
within the last two years, and many screenings 
were premieres. According to Saalfield, 50 per- 
cent of the tapes selected came from an open call. 
The mixture of tapes by first-time producers such 
as Sadie Benning (Me + Rubyfruit, If Every Girl 
Had a Diary) with work by veterans like Michelle 
Parkerson (Storme: The Lady of the Jewel Box) 
gave the event both freshness and an edge. Many 
people were delighted with the opportunity to see 
the wide variety of work. However, one fre- 
quently voiced criticism was that the programs 
ran too long and that the quality of tapes was 
uneven. But as one woman aptly put it, "You have 
to catch lesbian and gay video when you can, 
where you can, and as much as you can." 

Thomas Harris is a freelance filmlvideomaker 
who has worked as a staff producer for public 
television. 



Gay and lesbian Native 

Americans are the subject of 

Mona Smith's Honored by 

the Moon. Like numerous 

works in the festival, it 

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APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



WHAT'S WRONG WITH MULTICULTURALISM? 

Shooting the System Conference in Toronto 



RENEE TAJIMA 



Last November a remarkable meeting quietly 
convened in Toronto. Shooting the System, pre- 
sented by the fledgling media group Full Screen, 
gathered over 50 emerging and veteran film/video- 
makers of color at the Ontario College of Art to 
discuss their presence in Canadian media produc- 
tion. Contrary to the many multicultural events 
that have been cropping up in the United States, 



ence of diaspora, disrupted in many ways.... 
Multiculturalism didn't acknowledge the fact that 
there was racism. Racism then became a word that 
was never used and it was just culture." 

The difference between antiracism and multi- 
culturalism may seem like a matter of semantics, 
but much of the discussion at the conference 
zeroed in on the concrete implications of the two. 
For one thing, the producers of color there simply 
did not see themselves as benefitting from official 
multicultural policy. In a city like Toronto, where 
people of color comprise at least half the popula- 



What's wrong with multiculturalism? It 
somehow assumes an equality between 
different cultures that quite clearly wasn't 
there. Multiculturalism doesn't acknowledge 
the fact that there is racism. 



Shooting the System was slated for people of 
color only — eliciting at least some consternation 
from a volunteer projectionist, who was respon- 
sible for the conference screenings but barred 
from the proceedings. That conflict reflected the 
mood of the entire weekend. Conferees were set 
on discussing and formulating their own internal 
agenda with regard to Canadian race and media in 
an implicit critique of Canada's new, official 
Multicultural Policy. 

What's wrong with multiculturalism? The 
conference packet included several critiques of 
the concept, including an interview with British 
film/videomaker Pratibha Parmar conducted by 
conference participant Lloyd Wong ("Fuck You. 
This is our Home!," Fuse, Summer 1990). which 
outlined the growing debate in Europe, Canada, 
and some sectors of the United States. Said Par- 
mar, "One of the critiques that many of us had was 
that multiculturalism somehow assumes an equal- 
ity between different cultures that quite clearly 
wasn't there. Instead, there were cultures of 
dominance and the cultures of different migrant 
and Black communities that had been, for hun- 
dreds of years, colonized and, through the experi- 



tion, the presence of people of color in decision- 
making levels at the arts councils, as grant recipi- 
ents, and in media production itself doesn't seem 
to have reached even the level of tokenism. The 
critical difference between multiculturalism and 
antiracism then becomes a question of self-deter- 
mination. Multiculturalism promotes cultural 
diversity — more television programming on vari- 
ous ethnic heritages, for example. But an antirac- 
ist agenda would put cameras and decision-mak- 
ing in the hands of producers of color themselves. 
This demand became strongest when voiced by 
the Native Canadian representatives at the confer- 
ence — referred to in Canada as First Nation People . 
Not only did they see their position as independent 
of the multicultural framework, but also apart 
from the African- Asian-Latino (immigrant) ex- 
perience and matrices posed by the other partici- 
pants. A debate among members of the First 
Nation community in Canada is growing over 
cultural appropriation, and some have called for 
an end to any media productions about subject 
matter related to native people made by nonnative 
producers, including other producers of color. 
Interestingly, the call for nonappropriation met 



with debate from some conference participants 
who were surprised that their sensitivity in deal- 
ing with other cultures would be questioned — no 
doubt a reaction shared by the progressive white 
projectionist. But nonappropriation seems to be a 
response to unrelenting exploitation by the media. 
Like in the US, native people in Canada are 
effectively excluded from creative control over 
programming about their own cultures. 

If the level of discourse at Shooting the System 
remained high, the practical needs of Canadian 
producers of color seemed quite basic. Given the 
traditional exclusion of people of color from arts 
funding and production, a number of participants 
had never found the means to produce a film or 
tape, and only a handful, such as Richard Fung, 
Claire Prieto, and PremikaRatnam, have multiple 
credits. During much of the discussion on the first 
day of the two-day meeting, thoughts centered on 
developing an agenda for local and national arts 
funders, which were presented to agency repre- 
sentatives. Several working groups were con- 
vened to create proposals and recommendations 
for the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, 
the Toronto Arts Council, the National Film Board 
of Canada, and the Canadian Secretary of State's 
office. Not surprisingly, the tenor of the various 
groups' agendas represented a great degree of 
likemindedness. Conference participants as a 
whole wanted basic, structural changes within the 
funding organizations, such as representation on 
peer panels, affirmative action in staff hiring, 
access to information, and a voice in artistic 
criteria and policy with regards to the appropria- 
tion of non-western culture, the evaluation of 
work in different languages, and the like. 

The funders who met with conferees the next 
day were variously overwhelmed by the scope of 
the recommendations and the depth of frustra- 
tion — and cautiously optimistic about the pros- 
pect for change. What appeared strikingly clear is 
that any change would be an improvement. 
However civil the meeting seemed, a productive 
relationship between producers of color and fun- 
ders is only in the beginning stages, but members 
of Full Screen seem to be in it for the long haul. 
According to one conference coordinator. 
Cameron Bailey, Full Screen is now gearing up 
for another organizing phase generated by the 
injection of new membership that resulted from 
the conference. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



STOCK IN TRADE 



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Broadcasters 



SUSAN GILBERT 



Late at night on August 6, 1988, Paul Garrin 
turned on his videocamera as a policeman's night- 
stick crashed down upon him. Sitting on top of a 
van parked by Tompkins Square Park in new York 
City, Garrin was on the scene when the police and 
local residents clashed over a curfew prohibiting 
homeless people and others in the park after 1 1 
p.m. On that hot summer night, agitation mounted 
as the police, arriving in increasing numbers, 
demanded that the protesters leave the park. A 
blue can was hurled at the police from the general 
direction of the van where Paul was seated. The 



Paul Garrin's footage of 
New York City police out 
of control received 
widespread exposure on 
local news stations after 
Garrin offered it to them 
free of charge. 

Courtesy videomaker 




rest became video history when his removal from 
the van, the shaking camera as he's thrown against 
it, and the swinging of the policeman's nightstick 
pounding against the camera became the principle 
image of the New York City police force out of 
control that night. 

Garrin's short clip of videotape soon lit up the 
airways. It became the focus of news coverage of 
the riots, airing repeatedly in the New York met- 
ropolitan area. This short home video clip carried 
a controversial message. With local news cameras 
absent from the park when the melee occurred and 
initial newspaper reports omitting mention of the 
police violence completely, the brief videotaped 
scene captured events of that night that might 
otherwise have been minimized by the press. The 
powerful image left little doubt as to what had 
happened. 

Garrin quickly realized he was in possession of 
a unique piece of footage. At that moment, he 
faced questions that arise for any film or video- 
maker who has rare or not-so-rare stock images: 
who gets to use them, how much do they pay. and 



what are the terms of their use. For Garrin, the 
answers were clear. As he explains it, "That night 
when I got home, I made calls to the local stations, 
to the night editors at Channel 2 and 4 telling them 
about my video. They took a note at the time. The 
next morning, as they heard more about what 
happened at the park, they sent reporters over to 
view the tape. They liked it, so I dubbed off tapes 
for both, at no charge. I didn't want an exclusive. 
The first reports were contradictory about what 
happened. I wanted the tape to receive as much 
exposure as possible. Pretty soon it aired on every 
channel." 

It was more important to have it air and be 
shown than to get bogged down in making deals 
or, as Garrin says, "nickel and diming" news 
editors: "People should see these things. They 
should be exposed, because they have impact." To 
a certain extent, Garrin's intention was realized. 
Even though the police officers involved were 
eventually granted immunity, the wide circula- 
tion of the news clip forced police commissioner 
Benjamin Ward to deal publicly with what he 
called the police officers' "justification for force." 

Stock footage sales can force video/filmmakers 
into an uncomfortable situation. There's always 
the enticement of seeing your footage in another 
production — perhaps a feature film or commer- 
cial television program. I remember being thrilled 
when WNBC asked to use my super 8 student film 
about my brother-in-law's toy soldier company in 
a profile on him. Despite my training as a stock 
footage negotiator, I gave them the tape for free, 
to use as they wished. This instinct may be , 
common, but it's important to remember that 
these are business transactions. 

There isn't a single formula for stock footage 
deals, only examples of how other individuals and 
companies have valued their stock. In my own 
negotiations, I try to find out as much as possible 
about the production in question, how much foot- 
age they need, and for how long they will need it. 

The major network news libraries (ABC. CBS. 
NBC) have price sheets that standardize licensing 
rates. Looking over these sheets may be helpful in 
determining market standards. General!) speak- 
ing, the libraries establish minimums — a mini- 
mum amount guaranteed for all orders. Prices tor 
licensing vary according to the amount o( footage 
used (in seconds, minutes, or "cuts"), the various 
markets intended for the production (worldwide 
documentary, corporate in-house, etc.), and the 
length of the license (e.g.. one time only, up to a 
year, in perpetuity). In comparison, professional 



APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



stringer organizations like Electronic News Gath- 
ering (ENG) charge a single price for screening 
and use of their stock images. Unedited, raw video 
is sold to local TV stations for anywhere between 
$150 and $225 per tape, depending on the length 
and importance of the story. A header on the tape 
states that the contents may be used for local news 
only, in perpetuity. However, any other use — 
such as on a magazine show or by a network — 
requires separate payment. Independents without 
contacts at news stations can sell their video to 
services such as ENG who have been known to 
pay $350 for local television rights. 

Prior to November 22, 1 963 , Abraham Zapruder 
had probably never considered the potential value 
of 10 seconds of super 8 film. (Back then, the raw 
film stock itself was probably worth about a 
penny.) However, his 486 famous frames of Presi- 
dent Kennedy's assassination, which caught sight 
of the one bullet and possibly two fired at the 
presidential motorcade that day, has been licensed 
for as much as $33,000 for one showing. 

The history of the Zapruder family's handling 
of this film clip is a fascinating story. Two days 
after the shooting Time, Inc. bought the film from 
Zapruder for $150,000, then sold it back to his 
survivors in 1 975 for $ 1 . While the film is held at 
the National Archive in Washington, it can only 
be screened and/or used with permission of the 
Zapruder family. 

Zapruder set definite terms that this bit of film 
be made available without restriction to the FBI in 



their investigation. Use of the clip in any other 
productions is granted on a very limited case-by- 
case basis and requires permission of the Zapruder 
family lawyer. Major news networks, documen- 
tarians, and any other commercial venture desir- 
ing copyright approval for use of the clip must pay 
the Zapruders, unless fair use is claimed. Accord- 
ing to the family, they only charge for commercial 
purposes, not scholarly or educational ones. 
However, they have been known to charge any- 
one who asks. Their enormous fees attempt to 
limit producers' use of the images. Zapruder's 
fear of hearing a Times Square huckster hawking 
his film and his family's concern about someone 
else making millions on the distribution of it have 
been eased by their careful consideration of each 
request. 

While maximizing cost can limit potential use, 
minimizing it can increase the numbers of produc- 
ers who will show a clip. Over the past 10 years. 
GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis), Testing the 
Limits, and the ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to 
Unleash Power) media contingent DIVA ( Damned 
Interfering Video Activists) TV have videotaped 
news events associated with AIDS and the gay 
and lesbian rights movements, conducting what 
these media activists call "countersurveillance to 
the police and regular news gathering organiza- 
tions." Coverage of these events is assured, whether 
or not a news agency decides to send camera 
crews. 

GMHC does not charge exorbitant fees to 




outside producers; the price is determined largely 
by the generosity of the user. GMHC's reasoning 
is simple: as a political movement desiring public 
attention, they do not want to limit access to mass 
news media. Jean Carlomusto and Gregg Bor- 
dowitz, who supervise the archive, screen re- 
quests for footage. Access is restricted if the video 
might be used to illustrate a negative representa- 
tion. When Bordowitz recently learned that PBS 's 
AIDS Quarterly planned to use GMHC footage to 
criticize ACT UP. their request was denied. For 
most requests, Bordowitz says, permission is 
granted at a nominal fee. 

"We're at the mercy of the network media in 
terms of advocacy. There's only so much we can 
do, because we desperately want to promote as 
much awareness as possible. We accept an ex- 
ploitative situation. We never give more than they 
need. They dub what they want and use it as much 



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18 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



Testing the Limits, a video production collective 
that documents news events associated with AIDS 
and gay and lesbian rights movements, charges 
modest fees for the use of their stock footage. 

Courtesy videomakers 



as they want. But it's good for us to see footage 
reappear," says Bordowitz. 

Clearly, each "owner" of video and film per- 
ceives the ultimate purpose of their video or film 
differently. Access to mainstream media may be 
important to some and not at all to others. Further- 
more, the goals of independent video or film 
productions often differ greatly from those of a 
major news gathering organization. Although 
providing footage to a news program is not a 
major statement of approval of the particular story 
where the clip is used, it may be worthwhile to 
evaluate whether or not this is something you'd 
like to participate in. Another producer's use of 
your material may alter the implications you at- 
tach to it or depart radically from your envisioned 
treatment. While there are the rare examples, such 
as those of Garrin and Zapruder, where a short 
scene seems unambiguous and constitutes "news" 
in its own right, most stock shots are destined to 
provide filler in someone else's story. 

Garrin has developed a somewhat complex 
ethic to guide his dealing with requests for stock 
footage. He believes that since news is profit- 
making, it should be freely distributed for public 
consumption, including reuse in other forms of 
social commentary such as video art. In compari- 
son, the video that he shoots belongs to him and is 
only available to him and to news organizations 
that will pay a licensing fee. He does not sell to 
other independents. If they want to use his video, 
he allows them to tape the television broadcast of 
it — or, if they missed it, he will dub one of his own 
copies. He was, however, concerned about a rumor 
that his Tompkins Square Park clip was used in a 
Lou Reed music video without his permission or 
any payment. For Garrin, there is a difference 
between independent video's low profit use of 
pirated images and a commercial music video's 
high profit use of the same. 

Stock footage sales can be advantageous to 
independents in other respects. There's no doubt 
that the small amount of money made from these 
sales can be a boon. It will always be in your best 
interest to know as much as possible about the 
program that intends to use your stock. Asking for 
a script or synopsis is reasonable. However, mass 
media often operates within tight deadlines, and 
there may be some pressure to make the deal as 
quickly as possible. In any case, settling the terms 
of use, including financial payment, and the time 
period during which the clip can be shown is 
extremely important. 

Susan Gilbert is director of research for Second 
Line Search, the world's largest stock footage 
research and licensing company. 

APRIL 1991 



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THE INDEPENDENT 19 



SCENE CHANGE 

Playwright David Henry Hwang Moves into Film 



PATRICIA THOMSON 



Among David Henry Hwang's current 
screenwriting projects is a film version 
of his Broadway hit, M. Butterfly. 
Here, Philip Anglim and A. Mapa in 
the play's national tour. 

Photo: Joan Marcus 




For someone with a critically acclaimed Broad- 
way hit to his name, an assortment of prestigious 
theatrical awards, and a reputation as one of the 
leading Asian American voices within the arts 
today, David Henry Hwang has remarkably few 
pretensions. Just back from Boston, where his 
play M. Butteifly kicked off its national tour, 
Hwang sits in his new Upper West Side apart- 
ment, ready to field questions. But before getting 
down to business, the 33-year-old playwright 
confesses to being somewhat surprised at my 
interest in discussing his move into filmmaking. 
"I have a lot to learn," he modestly explains. "I'm 
really on the first rung of a film career." 

Actually, this aspiring screenwriter/director has 
a number of screenplays already under his belt and 
seems to be heading unimpeded toward what he 
considers an ideal career. 
Says Hwang, "I'd like to do 
a play every couple of years, 
write and direct my own 
small movies, and then write 
larger movies for other 
people." 

Hwang is slated to direct 
his first film, Golden Gate, 
this spring. The film is set in 
San Francisco in the 1950s, 
shortly after the Korean War. 
This was a time when Chi- 
nese Americans were under 
investigation by the FBI, as 
J. Edgar Hoover feared they 
might act as a subversive 
fifth column for the "Red 
Chinese." Hwang based his 
screenplay on the case of a 
Chinese American who was 
jailed for nearly a decade, 
released, then ostracized by 
his own community. De- 
spairing and humiliated, he 
committed suicide. Onto this 
story Hwang grafted a ro- 
mance between the man's 
daughter and the FBI agent 
who hounded him to death — 
an idea inspired by Les Mis- 
erables, Hwang notes. The 
film will be coproduced by 
American Playhouse in 
conjunction with the British 
production company Zenith 



and released theatrically prior to its airdate. Its 
$4.2-million budget, raised from a consortium of 
European investors, is the largest of any American 
Playhouse production to date. 

Hwang also has a number of screenplays in the 
works for the major film studios. He is writing an 
adaptation of Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, which 
Martin Scorsese will produce and direct for Uni- 
versal Pictures. At the director's request, Hwang 
is transposing Dostoyevsky's tale of a Christ-like 
character in nineteenth-century St. Petersburg to a 
contemporary New York setting. "Instead of frivo- 
lous Russian people, you have frivolous art and 
film people," reveals the writer, smiling mischie- 
vously. Hwang's other major screenplay-in-prog- 
ress is a film version of M. Butterfly for Warner 
Brothers. 

Earlier scripts include Chinaman s Chance, 
commissioned in 1982 by producers Midge San- 
ford and Sarah Pillsbury, who had lined up Hong 
Kong director King Hu. That project eventually 
stalled in development. In 1987 Hwang wrote 
Seven Years in Tibet, based on an autobiographi- 
cal book by Heinrich Harrer, a German-Austrian 
mountain climber and escaped prisoner of war 
who became counselor to the young Dali Lama. 
Written for Columbia Pictures during David 
Puttnam's reign, the script was subsequently put 
into turnaround and picked up by Disney. But 
after three years and numerous rewrites, Hwang is 
ready to bow out and accept a cocredit. "I'm a little 
burned out on the material, particularly trying to 
shape it to various sensibilities," he confesses 
with a pang of regret, "but it's been an interesting 
craft experience for me. One of the things it's 
taught me is that I'm probably more inclined to 
work on spec — to write my own scripts and, when 
they're done, see if anyone likes them." 

But even with two completed screenplays and 
two in progress, Hwang is still grappling with the 
different demands of writing for film. He has gone 
about teaching himself the craft of screenwriting 
in much the same way he learned to write for the 
stage — by reading as many scripts and seeing as 
many productions as possible. In his estimate, the 
most significant distinction is film's reliance upon 
visual images to tell the story. "Trying to make 
that transition has been difficult," he admits. 
"Essentially, I had to figure out how to get to the 
same place that I get in a play, but using different 
muscles. The most obvious is the use of dialogue. 
In a play, almost all the information is conveyed 
by dialogue, and the visuals — such as they are in 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



theater, which tend to be minimal — exist to sup- 
port what is written in the text. In film, the reverse 
is true." 

Despite these differences, Hwang finds cer- 
tain constants in his creative process. "I begin 
with a problem, something that bugs me and I 
don't know what it is." When he first sits down to 
write, Hwang has a good idea of the beginning and 
end of the story. "I know I'm going from Los 
Angeles to Nashville, but I don't know how I'm 
going to get there. It's an adventure for me, in that 
characters and situations are playing themselves 
out as I'm writing them, in the same way they 
would be for an audience." At least when things 
are going well. "Harold Pinter talks about a deal 
you make with your characters. Sometimes your 
characters do what you want them to, and some- 
times you do what they want you to. But in order 
for that to happen, the characters have to have 
enough of an inner life so that they have their own 
opinions." 

This approach is complicated when writing an 
adaptation, as Hwang attests from his experience 
with Dostoyevsky's novel, Harrer's autobiogra- 
phy, and his own Broadway play. "In an adapta- 
tion, I'm faced with the dilemma of knowing 
where my characters are supposed to go." His 
solution has been to treat the source material much 
like he does his supplementary research: learn it, 
then forget it. For The Idiot, he read several 
translations of the novel, plus biographies of 
Dostoyevsky and Andy Warhol's diary. But he 
labored with his writing until deliberately setting 
the novel aside. As Hwang explains, "It's been a 
matter of making that plot present enough in my 
subconscious so that I haven't had to deal with it 
consciously." 

As his work on The Idiot and a theater script 
about the rise of fascism in the US both indicate, 
Hwang doesn't intend to restrict himself to Asian 
or Asian American subjects, which represents an 
evolution in his thinking. Son of a Shanghai 
banker and a Chinese pianist brought up in the 
Philippines, Hwang was raised a born-again 
Christian in the middle-class suburb of San Gab- 
riel, California. As he told the New York Times, "I 
knew I was Chinese, but growing up it never 
occurred to me that that had any particular impli- 
cation or that it should differentiate me in any 
way. I thought it was a minor detail, like having 
red hair." It was not until he was in college at 
Stanford in the late 1970s that Hwang entered 
what he calls his "isolationist-nationalist" phase. 
Living in an Asian American dorm and working 
with Asian American theater groups, Hwang turned 
out such plays as FOB, The Dance and the Rail- 
road, and Family Devotions. Nowadays, he is still 
heavily involved in Asian American issues. He 
and M. Butterfly star B.D. Wong authored the 
letter to the Actors Guild that ignited last year's 
controversy over the casting of Miss Saigon. But 
Hwang now resists being categorized by his eth- 
nicity and forced into a kind of literary segrega- 
tion. As an Asian American, he argues, he should 



be able to focus on any sub- 
ject — including Asian 
Americans if he so chooses. 

Hwang's most conspicu- 
ous influence is the Califor- 
nia-born writer Maxine 
Hong Kingston. In The 
Woman Warrior and China 
Men, Kingston created a 
compelling nonfiction hy- 
brid, interweaving personal 
history, real and conjectured 
family experiences, and tra- 
ditional Chinese legends, 
expressions, and spirits. 
Hwang, who openly bor- 
rowed one of Kingston's 
heroines for FOB, has been 
approached several times to 
put some of Kingston's work 
on film, but hasn't taken the 
bait. "It's something I've 
always wanted to try to do, 
but I haven't come up with a 
way to do it yet," he admits. 
Like Kingston, Hwang says, 
he is "interested in the com- 
ing together of unlikes and 
pulling together various 
things that seem unrelated 
into a more unified vision." 
This is evident in his stage- 
work, from the intrusion of 
the god Gwan Gung into the mundane confines of 
a Chinese restaurant kitchen in FOB, to M. Butter- 
fly's mixture of American slang, Puccini, and 
Peking opera. How Hwang will realize his hybrid 
vision on film remains to be seen, beginning with 
Golden Gate. 

When asked about cinematic influences, Hwang 
ponders a moment, then acknowledges his affec- 
tion for Lawrence of Arabia, The Godfather, and 
The Third Man. "They're all films with large 
visions, but also conventional structures and nar- 
ratives," he admits. But when the topic turns to 
Golden Gate, it's clear that Hwang has something 
else in mind for his own work — something more 
disruptive of formal conventions, as well as of 
Oriental stereotypes that still pervade mainstream 
US films. In his Broadway play, Hwang dissected 
the story of Madame Butterfly , exposing the sexist, 
racist, and colonialist assumptions that underlie 
this operatic tear-jerker. In Golden Gate, he plans 
to take on the conventions of film noir — including 
its outdated Asian stereotypes. "Things happen 
that make sense within the cliches of 1940s film, 
then someone comes on screen to debunk this," 
says Hwang. "These fantasy cliches are fun. 
They're also a way for the characters to lose 
control of the story, like how Guillimard loses 
control in M. Butterfly." For Hwang, "This is one 
way of breaking the frame of the story." He shrugs 
and smiles. "It's a start." 




The mundane and mythic rub elbows in 
Hwang's play about assimilation, FOB. 
Here, a restaurant worker is transformed 
into the legendary heroine Fa Mu Lan, who 
does battle with the god Gwan Gung, only 
moments ago a ridiculed, fresh-off-fhe- 
boat immigrant from China. 

Photo: Carol Rosegg, Martha Swope Associates, courtesy 
Pan Asian Repertory 



APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



WHAT THE MANUAL DIDN'T TELL YOU 

Audio for Video 



RICK FEIST 



This article is ninth in a series, written by staff 
members of the Standby Program, a nonprofit 
video access and education program dedicated to 
providing artists and independent producers with 
sophisticated video services they can afford. 
Standby' s technicians are artists themselves and 
therefore offer vital understanding and sympa- 
thetic collaboration. Since 1983, works made 
possible by Standby have been broadcast on the 
Public Broadcasting Service, as well as European 
and Japanese television, and have been exhibited 
in museums and galleries worldwide. The infor- 
mation presented here and in future articles should 
help you make appropriate technical decisions to 
suit your aesthetic and budgetary needs. The 
previous chapters of this editing guide reviewed 
video recording formats, time code, off-line edit- 
ing, switchers, digital video effects, titling meth- 
ods, and video painting systems. 

Audio quality on videotape can be elusive. That 
editing requires copying from one videotape to 
another doesn't help. Copying adds noise to a 
recording — tape hiss, amplifier noise, and other 
artifacts. Distortion arises from speed irregulari- 
ties. Analog tape recording systems are particu- 
larly vulnerable. Each generation adds to the 
noise and distortions inherited from previous 
generations. 

The signal to noise ratio measures the noise a 
transmission medium adds to a transmission, or in 
this case, a recording. It is expressed as the ratio of 
the volume of the audio recorded to the amount of 
noise added by the process. Measurements of 
loudness are made in decibels. Based on human 
perception of loudness, an increase of ldb repre- 



figure 1 






DB SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIOS 




OF COMMON FORMATS 






standard VHS 




40db 


VHS hi-fi 




90db 


3/4" Umatic 


BVU 800 


48db 


Betacam 


BVW40 


50db 


Betacam SP FM 


BVW75 


85db 


1 " C format 


approx 


. 55db 



sents a doubling of volume. A good signal to noise 
ratio (60db or more) allows for a clean recording 
that can be copied without problem. Most VTRs 
(3/4" or standard VHS) add an audible amount of 
hiss to a recording (figure 1). 

The signal to noise ratio determines the dy- 
namic range — the variations in volume (the loud- 
est and quietest sounds) that a medium can record. 
All audio recorders are restricted in the dynamic 
range they record. Setting the volume of a record- 
ing with the aid of a VU meter will place the level 
of sound recorded within this limited range. Sounds 
falling outside this range are lost (figure 2). 

Audio recorded with the volume too low hisses 
like a snake when the volume is raised. Filtering 
may help, but background noises (and voices) will 
sound different from the rest of the soundtrack. 
Sound recorded too loud distorts (overmodula- 
tion). Such distortion is audible in sounds that 




figure 2 

VU METERS 

VU meters are the 
traditional means 
of determining 
audio levels. The recordist keeps the needle 
from bouncing too far into the red (darker) 
zone on loud sound. Peak meters (below) 
are a more accurate indication of volume, 
displaying the sound peaks instantaneously. 
VU meters require a moment to react to a 
sudden loud sound, which may diminish 
before the needle has fully deflected. 



PEAK METERS 

Audio tone is set to read Odb 
on the meters and is recorded 
on a tape as a reference for 
setting playback levels and 
copying. Recording formats 
have differing amounts of 
headroom, the space left 
beyond Odb before the audio 
actually distorts. 3/4" and home formats 
(without hi-fi) don't have much head room 
and can easily distort. 




crackle in a fuzzy distortion known as clipping. 
for which there is no known "fix-it-in-post" rem- 
edy. 

Audio Recording Methods 

Audio is recorded on videotape in three different 
ways: 

1 . The audio is recorded on two tracks physi- 
cally positioned near the edge of the tape. The 
analog signals — longitudinal tracks — are re- 
corded by the same means as a standard audiotape 
recorder. The audio record head is stationary, and 
the voltage produced by a sound magnetizes the 
passing tape. Since the tracks are recorded by 
separate audio heads, they can be changed by 
making insert edits without affecting each other or 
the picture (figure 3). 

The magnetic particles on videotape are ori- 
ented for the diagonal scan of a helical head, and 
longitudinally recorded audio quality suffers. The 
tracks are narrow, which adds noise. Wow (bass 
distortion) and flutter (vibrato added by playback 
speed variations) will also affect the sound. The 
overall tape speed of the VTR is critical. A tape 
recorder makes a good recording at 7 1/2 ips 
(inches per second). The tape speed of a 1 " VTR 
is 9 ips, providing tolerable sound quality. A 3/4" 
Umatic deck running at 3 3/4 ips may sound 
muffled when copied. Since home formats (VHS. 
Betamax, 8mm) run at speeds as low as 15/16 ips, 
the quality of their standard audio tracks is not 
very good. 

2. FM recording is an ingenious solution to 
video sound problems. Frequency modulation 
translates the audio to a higher frequency, which 
is then recorded by the rotating video heads. 
During playback, the signal is "demodulated" to 
the original frequencies. FM recording provides 
full frequency response and rivals the dynamic 
range of digital audio, nearly immune to tape hiss 
(90db signal to noise ratio). 

Equipping a VTR with FM recording capabili- 
ties changes a format. VHS hi-fi and Betacam SP 
have additional FM tracks, but regular VHS and 
Betacam VCRs cannot access them. Another 
drawback — since the audio is recorded with the 
video, both of the FM tracks and the video must be 
recorded at the same time. Insert editing is not 
possible without recording picture and both FM 
tracks at once. Split track edits and audio overlaps 
are not possible. 

3. Digital audio is available with the 8mm 
video format. The broadcast Dl and D2 digital 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



figure 3 

REEL-TO-REEL TAPE RECORDER 



FULL TRACK RECORDING 

HALF TRACK RECORDING (STEREO) 

QUARTER TRACK RECORDING (STEREO BOTH DIRECTIONS) 



1 /4" audio is a grandfather format, in use for 
over 40 years. A 1/4" tape recorder is found in 
almost all broadcast edit suites. Over the years, a 
variety of speeds have been used: 30 ips, 1 5 ips, 
7 1 /2 ips, 3 3/4 ips, 1 7/8 ips. Most machines 
are capable of only two or three speeds. 1 5 ips 
remains the standard, though 7 1 /2 ips is usually 
available. Other speeds may not be available, so 
check with the studio at which you will work. 



There's another potential 
1 /4" snafu, which depends 
upon the number of audio 
tracks utilized. Full-track 
recordings are mono, 
utilizing nearly the entire 
width of the tape and 
recording in one direction 
only. Two-track (stereo) 
recordings utilize half the 
tape for the left channel, the other half for the 
right channel, and record in one direction. 
Four-track recordings record stereo on tracks 
1 and 3 in one direction, tracks 2 and 4 in the 
other. This is the standard. Certain multi-track 
sound-on-sound recorders are four track, but 
record the mixdown onto tracks 1 and 2 
(instead of 1 and 3). Such a recording can 
generally not be used in an on-line studio. 



video recorders have four tracks of CD-type audio 
(PCM 16 bit sampling at 44.1 megahertz). The 
audio is stored as binary data and reconstructed. A 
data buffer can correct speed errors, like a TBC 
corrects video. Tape hiss, wow, flutter, and other 
analog audio artifacts virtually disappear. 16 bit 
quantization provides a signal to noise ratio over 
90db and a wide dynamic range. In spite of such 
potential, audio mixing and copying in video 
postproduction studios remains primarily analog. 
Specialized sound houses, on the other hand, may 
have digital mixers. 

The PCM 1630 format is the digital audio 
standard used for video, as well as digital audio 
mastering. The digital audio is encoded as video 
to be recorded in place of the picture on a video- 
tape machine. Usually, a 3/4 " BVU Umatic deck 
is used, with specially prepared tapes. The 1 630 is 
generally found in sound studios. A double sys- 
tem for sound and picture, such a 1630 cassette 
will accompany a 1 " videotape for laser disk mas- 
tering or quantity dubbing. The use of the D2 
digital video format (with four channels of CD 
quality audio) may supersede the PCM 1630 
system for video sound. 

Other digital audio formats offer a mixed bag 
of characteristics and quirks. The F8 format (a 
lower quality home format) also records on video- 
tape. Though originally packaged with a Betamax 
VCR, it is now used mostly with a Umatic deck. 
F8 has trouble maintaining stability when inter- 
locked to video, causing distortions and sound 
gaps. Professional studios generally cannot pro- 
vide an interlocked transfer of F8 audio to video- 
tape. You will probably have to transfer the F8 
audio to a more stable video format for editing and 
deal with a small amount of-sync drift with edits. 
The R-Dat format records two tracks of digital 
audio on a small cassette designed for the format. 
R-Dat has yet to establish itself in broadcast 
television, and few facilities can resolve the for- 

APRIL 1991 



mat (interlock it to video), even if the R-Dat deck 
is equipped with SMPTE time code. 

Interlocking 

The immediate ease with which VTRs record 
sound in sync with picture obscures the difficult 
history of the relationship between film and sound. 
Film and sound mix like oil and water. Film 
cameras are mechanical instruments, and, origi- 
nally, the sprocket holes provided the means of 
synchronization. Optical sound tracks were origi- 
nally recorded and edited in parallel with the 
picture — sprocket for sprocket — and then printed 
on the edge of the film. The optical tracks were 
eventual supplanted by 16mm and 35mm mag- 
netic film, which is simply magnetic tape with 
sprocket holes. The machines that record and play 
the sprocketed magnetic film are called dubbers. 
The first interlock between picture and sound was 
done mechanically . Then electronic interlock was 
introduced, utilizing synchronous motors whose 
speed is controlled by the 60 cycle AC line volt- 
age. 

Audiotape recorders run at irregular speeds. A 
one percent speed variation is inaudible, but will 
soon appear "out of sync" to the eye. Recording 
the same action, a camera and an audio recorder 
will run freely and soon diverge in speed. Sync 
can be maintained only by recording a common 
reference signal on the audiotape. Specially 
equipped tape recorders, such as the Nagra, record 
a pilottone along the center of the tape. Later, in 
playback the pilottone is used for coordinating 
speed control with a sync reference. Locking the 
audio to picture in such a way is called resolving. 

When this system was first devised, the cam- 
era fed the pilottone signal to the tape recorder by 
means of a cable (cable sync). Eventually, finely 
ground quartz crystals were installed in both the 
film camera and tape recorder. The crystal deter- 



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figure 4 SPLIT TRACKS 



TRACK 1 
TRACK 2 








SOUND EFFECT \ 




MUSIC 








/ VOICE 


VOICE ^\ 









Split tracks allow for overlapping audio. Two sounds (e.g., voice and musk) play simultaneously. 
More often, overlap provides for dissolving different sounds to prevent abrupt audio cuts. 



mines the frequency of an oscillator, which in turn 
controls the speed of the camera. The tape re- 
corder has an identical crystal installed that pro- 
duces a pilottone for resolving to picture. The 
same pilottone recording can be resolved to a 
video reference at 59.94 cps, rather than the 60cps 
used by film, and will remain synchronous with 
the picture. 

Since pilottone cannot be utilized by a video 
edit controller to align sound to picture with frame 
accuracy, most recent recorders use SMPTE time 
code as the speed reference. Such a recording is 
called center track, since the SMPTE track is 
recorded along the center of the tape. Such audio 
can be synchronized directly at the film-to-tape 
transfer by means of the Sync Smart system, 
which employs a traditional film slate with a 
display of the SMPTE time code numbers [see 
"The Time Machine: A Filmmaker's Guide to 
Time Code," The Independent, October 1990]. 
The colorist enters the number displayed in the 
edit controller, and the sound "chases" (cues and 
locks to) the picture as the take is transferred. But 
with this method, a lot of stopping and starting is 
involved in aligning each take while paying film- 
to-tape transfer rates. 

Video has a control track that marks each field. 
It can also be used to determine the frame rate. In 
a television studio, the playback speed of all 
VTRs is uniform, controlled by an external video 
sync reference — genlock. The audio on any copy 
of a tape remains frame-for-frame synchronous 
with the original. If the copy has SMPTE time 



code, the tape can be controlled for mixing and 
will run as synchronously with the picture as the 
rolls of magnetic film for film mixing. SMPTE 
time code labels each frame for accurate align- 
ment by an edit controller. The audio can be 
realigned to the video any time during the session. 
Some audio media also use SMPTE, which 
does not invariably mean that they can be inter- 
locked in a video studio. Capabilities vary widely. 
Some studios use 1/4" stereo tapes with SMPTE 
center track to perform the audio layback — the 
transfer of the finished sound mix to the master 
tape. Half-inch, four-track tape with SMPTE on 
track four is still found in some studios. Usually, 
these machines can be controlled by computers, 
like VTRs, for frame accurate editing. Although 
SMPTE is increasingly used in audio production, 
there are abbreviated, nonstandard versions that 
will not lock to video. 

Mixing 

Televisions have ratty little speakers that inevita- 
bly distort. At the postproduction studio, sound is 
monitored on a snazzy stereo system to make you 
feel better. But you may never again experience 
this moment of clarity. Immune to flattery, the 
cheapest speaker is the best monitor of the balance 
of the final mix. 

Some rules of thumb in preparing for a mix: 
audio is generally recorded on alternate (split) 
tracks, checkerboard fashion on the edit master in 
a postproduction session (figure 4). Each track is 



C~\ SOUND 
SOUND KJ S0URCE 


SOURCE a 


(~\ / \ r~\ SOUND 
Wv / \ „-/W SOURCE 








"> / 


\ ^^ 


-< ' 


N C 


3' 


LEFT r 


5 RIGHT 


CHANNEL C 


i CHANNEL 


| STEREO MICROPHONE | 



figure 5 

Stereo audio is not simply the 
use of two tracks or two 
microphones. It is a method of 
recording and mixing one sound 
from two perspectives. The 
"pan" pats of mixing boards 
can make a track louder in one 
of the channels than the other, 
but this does not create stereo. 
Reverb systems better emulate 
the depth of stereo by allowing 
subtle changes in the phase, or 
arrival time, of a sound and its 
many overtones and echos. 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



kept distinct (not premixed), and its loudness can 
be changed later in a mix without affecting other 
sounds. Generally, audio is copied "straight across" 
(unfiltered) during the edit and corrected later in 
the mix. Two tracks are often inadequate for 
voice, ambience, music, effects, and what not. In 
such cases it is not possible to hear all the sounds 
while building the video, and a decision must be 
made about how to use the two tracks. 

The audio should be recorded loud enough not 
to add noise. Striving for a balance of levels may 
be a waste of time. Varying the loudness of music 
around a voice segment is best done in the mix, not 
when recording the tracks. Also, establish an 
overall monitoring (speaker) level, and stick with 
it. Fiddling with the monitor level creates loud- 
ness changes in the master. Since the eardrums of 
the editor/mixer may also have a limited dynamic 
range, the volume of sound on tape should be 
measured by the VU meters, not the current loud- 
ness settings of the monitor. 

Most projects are mixed at the video studio 
after the completion of the picture edit. The two 
tracks are copied to another tape and mixed back 
with other audio sources on the master. Alterna- 
tively, the video goes down a generation, and all 
the audio is mixed directly onto a new master. 
Leaving the sound on the edit master with split 
tracks can cause problems. Improper settings of 
the audio monitor switch on a VCR may eliminate 
one of the tracks — and half the sound with it. 
Also, the loudness balance between the tracks 
may not be set properly during playback. 

Though videotapes have two tracks, most mixes 
record the same mono audio on both. To work 
entirely in stereo requires two separate tracks to 
record each source, making it impossible to edit 
split (overlapping) tracks when building picture. 
For a final "stereo" mix, the tracks on the edit 
master are built with mono audio and later mixed 
with true stereo sources, like music (figure 5). 

Sound studios offer sophisticated mixing capa- 
bilities — at a price which pays for their constant 
upgrading of audio technology. Analog multi- 
track machines once used for mixing have been 
superseded by digital 16- and 24-track machines, 
such as the Sony Dash format. These, in turn, are 
being rendered old-fashioned by digital worksta- 
tions. Using hard disk storage instead of tape, a 
fully configured computer system can often store 
more than 10 hours of sound. Random access 
storage provides nonlinear editing capabilities. 
The audio is not laid in tracks but triggered to run 
at any point(s) in a program. The Audiofile and the 
Synclavier (musical synthesizer) Post Pro are 
equipped with full audio mixing capabilities for 
scoring soundtracks. With these electronic inven- 
tions, sound can now be composed in a fantasy 
world of editing and design possibilities. For 
those working with lower budgets, affordable 
Macintosh and PC applications exist, but if you 
use these, make sure there is a way to "layback" 
the audio on the master videotape. 

Rick Feist works for the Standby Program. 



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APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



BACK l\ THE ISA 

An Interview with Expatriate 
Filmmaker Robert Kramer 




In Route One/USA, 
Robert Kramer's first US- 
made film in over 1 
years, the filmmaker 
travels down Route One 
from Maine to Florida, 
looking for evidence of 
the political and social 
changes that have 
occurred since the late 
1970s. 



Courtesy Interama 



ROY LEKUS 



o f 



'N NOVEMBER 2, 1990. ROBERT KRAMER'S FOUR-HOUR FILM ROUTE ONE/ 
USA had its American theatrical premiere at the Public Theater in New York 
City. The standing-room-only screening marked the homecoming of one 
of the more provocative voices in the US independent scene in the decade 
from 1964 to 1975. Kramer was one of the founding members of the New 
York and then San Francisco Newsreel collectives in the late sixties. He sub- 
sequently wrote and directed several feature films, all rooted in New Left 
politics and culture. From In the Country (1966) through Ice (1970) to 
Milestones (1975), Kramer's features are sincere, moving portraits of "the 
movement" described from within. Never a diehard activist myself, I recall 
how weird it was to witness, in Ice, a made-in-US A political fiction of urban 
insurrection circa 1968, complete with an agit-prop film-within-the-film 
that is forced upon the middle-class inhabitants of a housing project who've 
been rounded up by the left-wing political organizers. 

Had there been any dramatic features so specifically activist (leaving 
aside more humanistic allegories such as Joseph Losey's The Boy with 
Green Hair or Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove) since Salt of the Earth in 
1954? The only even remotely similar movie that comes to mind is Peter 



Watkins' Punishment Park ( 197 1 ). One could point to the slicker statements 
of the Haskell Wexler-Jane Fonda variety, but Kramer's raw, documentary- 
like work was closer to the European art films that our generation was then 
discovering than those well meaning but heavy handed spin-offs of the 
Hollywood worldview. 

Whatever one thought at the time — or in retrospect — of the political 
positions represented in Ice, the film is a piece of compelling, daring, 
masterful storytelling — made possible by a $20,000 grant from the Ameri- 
can Film Institute — characterized by the same grainy, washed-out black and 
white aesthetic, which Debra Goldman referred to as "the gray look" ["A 
Decade of Building an Alternative Movement," The Independent, Septem- 
ber 1983], as the Newsreel documentaries that preceded it. 

Ice was the object of much passionate commentary among the various 
factions of leftist and Maoist film critics at Cahiers du Cinema and 
Cinethique. When Kramer took the three-hour Milestones to Cannes in 
1975, he arrived as something of acultural hero. Cannes is held in May, and 
the previous April 25, Portugal had overthrown its decades-old dictatorship. 
Kramer went directly there after the festival and stayed, spending two years 
making Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal (1977). 

When he finally returned to the US, things had changed. The period of 
political activity that had begun in the early sixties was grinding down into 
Reaganism. His work in film had always been supported by the movement. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



Kramer is accompanied on his journey in Route One by 

Paul Mclsaac, who recreates the character Doc, also 

featured in Kramer's earlier films Ice and Doc's Kingdom. 

Courtesy Interama 



but now he had a family to support. No longer comfortable in the US, he took 
advantage of an offer to make a film in France and settled in Paris in 1979. 

He began to work there regularly, thanks in part to the National Audio- 
visual Institute [see my article on the French television system, "PAF, the 
French Audiovisual Landscape," The Independent, August/September 1 988] , 
and above all to his collaboration with Richard Copans, bilingual French 
militant filmmaker and cinematographer. By his own admission, the films 
Kramer made in France weren't entirely satisfying. This was a time of 
personal and professional readjustment, and, though I haven't seen all of the 
work from this period, the films I did see aren't informed by the same 
cultural concerns that made his work in the US so unique. 

Having written the script of Wim Wenders' The State of Things in 
Portugal in 1982, Kramer managed to get a film of his own produced there 
in 1987, Doc's Kingdom. Along for the ride were his two longtime 
accomplices from the US, Paul Mclsaac (actor in Ice and Milestones) and 
Robert Machover, an associate from the Newsreel days and cinematogra- 
pher on all of the US films. A story of an American doctor astray in a foreign 
culture, trying to find his own bearings helping the poor, the film is shot 
entirely with a hand-held camera in natural locations and has the unman- 
nered immediacy of his US productions. 

Doc's Kingdom played the festival circuit, and after technicalities related 
to television funding sources were worked out, it was released in France. It 
turned out to be the bridge between Kramer's US period and his first 
American shoot in 13 years, Route One/USA. Released in two two-hour 
episodes for French, English, and Italian TV, Route One is indebted to the 
artistry of Richard Copans, founder of the Paris documentary production 
company Les Films d'lci and director of photography on the five-month 
long production. Constantly treading the line between direct cinema and 
fiction, the film relates the travels of the character Doc, first introduced in 
Doc's Kingdom, upon his return to the US from Europe and Africa. Mclsaac 
again plays the leading role, and the music is subtly scored by Bane Philips. 

On the eve of his departure for the New York opening of Route One, I met 
with Robert Kramer in Paris and we discussed his experience as an 
expatriate filmmaker. The following interview was edited from a recording 
of that meeting. 




production, a demand to have a shooting plan, a whole different kind of 
accountability. 

In the US, we'd shot everything on the shoulder, while here, people never 
even raised the question that the camera could be off the tripod. So I didn't 
raise the question either. For three or four years I tried to deal with the 
blocked camera. I used just about every device of supported camera — first 
of all, I wanted to get a taste of it. I had been making movies for 10 years 
without ever once having used a traveling shot. There comes a time when 
you want to know what the vocabulary is. So I did everything — I used the 
steadicam and the louma, and at a certain moment I came to realize that I was 
also suffocating. It wasn't my language. 

One thing about American cinema is that it's always efficient. There's no 
time for fucking around. Therefore, this kind of stuff is rarely abused. It's 
there for a reason: tell the story , get the characters moving. But here, you can 
spend two days working on a tracking shot. That's going to be a third or a 
fifth of the running time of your final cut. And it's a big deal. I don't think 
it's a big deal. I think it's boring. 

RL: What has it meant to you to make films in France, in Europe, in Africa? 

RK: It's extremely hard to evaluate what it does to live and work outside 
your culture. There's no argument that the United States, certainly until very 
recently, was the absolute center of all my preoccupations no matter where 
I was and what I was thinking about. I'm wondering whether that's begun 
to shift. It's been 1 1 years, and there's a sense in which I'm a transplanted 
person. I'm no longer, strictly speaking, American, and I'm certainly not 
French, I'm sort of a mid-Atlantic personality. Maybe that corresponds to 
something that's happening in the world, about the waning strength of 
nations and national ideas, or maybe it's just a personal problem to be coped 
with. 



Roy Lekus: What was it like when you first started making films in Europe? RL: What are your thoughts about French cinema? 



Robert Kramer: When I started in Europe, I really started all over again. 
Partially because the conditions of production were so different. In the 
States, it was absolutely independent, minimal production. There was no 
production. All of a sudden, what was considered alternative production 
here in France was big time production for me, with a large crew and 
technicians who were actually trained in filmmaking and laboratories that 
took you very seriously. In the States, we shot the films, we edited them, we 
saw them through the lab, and we cut the negative. Because we could do it 
better than a poorly paid negative cutter. Here negative cutting is integrated 
into the lab process, so the difference in the material base of filmmaking 
actually changed the freedom with which I undertook my job. It took me 
another six or seven years to get back to feeling free and authoritative 
enough to begin to do some reasonable work. I see my first films in France 
as held back and affected by a different language, a different style of 



RK: I have no particular feeling of kinship with the eternal themes of 
variations on love in French films. It's interesting because I usually start 
from locations. That's very often the first thing that turns me on about a 
desire to film someplace. Very often the people and elements of a story come 
much later. I love Paris, but I am incredibly reticent about filming here. I 
have a really embattled relationship with French cinema, for example. I 
don't really like French movies at all. I love French cinema from the thirties, 
when it really had teeth. But for a really long time, it's been a conciliatory 
and sort of limp cinema. On the other hand, I don't really understand the 
preoccupations. I'm just not that interested in various variations of love. 
what I see as romantic or physical love .jealousy, and menage a trois. [ha\ e 
a very limited tolerance for these themes. 

One can get swallowed up in it. 1 did get swallow cd. 1 thought 1 could deal 
with the language the way I dealt with English — with the sank- son of casual 



APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



disregard for a tradition of written language, which is fine in English but 
which is terrible here. This created a situation in which people would say, 
"It doesn't sound like French." It took me a long time to understand that the 
spoken language in French cinema bears no relationship to any spoken 
language. It is a cinema language, and it's a convention that comes more 
from the theater than from anything else. It was only when I started to work 
with producers, who said, "Well, fa c'est vraiment ingrat" — it's ugly, or it 's 
not graceful, or it's not charming, it's not witty. It was shocking, because I 
don't think about things at all that way. I never wanted anything to be witty 
or charming or graceful. 

I got so burned that I didn't want to work in French anymore, or tried to 
find other ways where I'd get the actors to translate my English. I didn 't even 
write it down, but they would translate it directly into their idiom, only to 
find that once again people would say, "It doesn't sound like French." I'd 
say, "What do you mean it doesn't sound like French? That's how that 
person would say it." And they'd say, "Fine, but not in a movie." 

Then, of course, I got swamped by it in my own life, because, like every 
foreign male, I got swept into this strange territory of French love affairs. 
Especially for an American lad coming out of the radical left movement, 
with strict attention to sexism, I found myself on uncharted ground. At first 
I thought, coming to France is like going back to the fifties, but this is not 
at all true. When you ask, "What did you learn about living abroad?," all you 
really learn is about reading the world and about how complicated and 
fascinating reading the world is, how many things are not what you think 
they are, and how language is the house that we live in. I know that I'll never 
understand a certain level of what's going on here. It's not that it's so 
complicated, it's just that it's hiding behind a veil of subtlety that's 
culturally transmitted. Actually, Europeans know all about that, because 
they're living right next to many different cultures. Americans know less 
and less about that because they're in this isolated hothouse that knows less 
and less about the world around them. They're encouraged to be less and less 
interested in the rest of the world, which is the scariest thing that's going on 
in the United States. 

RL: What are the effects of living abroad? 

RK: It's only much later that I began to think about my move in political 
terms. I began to think about it not as having moved towards the possibility 
of making movies and making a living making movies but also moving 
away from what was happening in the States, namely the eight years of 
Reagan ' s presidency. Now I see it as a much more organic evolution, where 
there were real limits put on the growth of people who stayed in the States. 
There was a kind of savage oppression and repression in the last 10 or 12 
years. In a sense, for white people or the majority of cultural workers, this 
never really takes the form of physical oppression or repression but just slow 
transformation of values so that, for example, the unquestioned victory of 
materialist thinking over everything else has just infected everybody and 
everything I know in the States. People who valiantly fought against it for 
a time were then just forced to adapt or die. I see it in pretty stark terms, 
because I've seen a lot of people being forced to think about their lives in 
certain ways that are objectively unreasonable from outside the US. 

This has to do with a certain logic about movies: no matter how much one 
argues against it, their value is somehow measured by the marketplace. 
Whereas it's obvious that this is not true, that's exactly the nature of the 
problem: the marketplace can't measure the value of movies anymore 



because the marketplace is insane. On the other hand, that doesn't mean one 
can ignore the marketplace. It's a much more complicated relationship. 

Another result of this logic is that independent filmmaking in America 
became the making of a product that proved you could do what Hollywood 
could do for less, and effectively. It becomes your passport to enter the club. 
These kinds of dead ends seem to me like the result of what I call the 
oppression and repression of the last 10 to 12 years — no alternative, no 
freedom to work out other solutions to these problems. 

One of the reasons for wanting to make Route One was my idea for a 
voyage from the Canadian border to Key West, travelling a route that ran 
through all the areas I had lived in the States. I wanted to gauge what had 
changed. Here in Europe, I couldn't really tell what was happening. But 
going back was a double adventure, because it was like, "I used to think 
about it like that, but I don't think about it that way anymore at all." I was 
concerned that whatever movie I was going to make would be bitter. Angry 
and bitter. Bitter in the sense that, after all, there's got to be a lot of 
resentment. I have a flourishing film life, and I belong to a miner and a 
community of people in Europe, but not in the States. Basically, my movies 
don't show there. I don't exist there. But I have a lot of contempt for 
bitterness as a small emotion. 

The fact of the matter was that I was really open to people in a way that 
had been impossible 10 years before. Milestones (1975) was also a voyage 
across the United States. But in that film the focus is on inward-looking 
community formations of that period, on like-minded people who had been 
spun off by the political movement, who had no home, who were clinging 
together like survivors on a raft floating down an enormous river. In the 
whole three hours and 15 minutes of Milestones there may be three 
encounters with "the people." In a certain way. Route One is the reverse 
angle shot. It's "the folks," and we're sort of swimming right in the middle 
of all that. I took that to be a sign of health that the distance had made 
possible, putting all these things in place. It probably means I'm less 
embattled and a lot of that angry and maybe very useful political energy has 
taken another form. 

RL: Have you ever considered making a movie about Europe for Ameri- 
cans? 

RK: Rather than the other way around? I just showed Route One in Berlin, 
where it opened, and people said exactly that: "Maybe this is a movie made 
for Europeans about the United States." It deals centrally with the European 
myths about the United States. It has so much involved with showing that 
the empire has peaked and the dream is at an end. 

This brings me back to your question, "What are the effects of living 
abroad?" These are the incalculable effects. In very uncontrollable ways, I 
think all the time of who I'm making a movie for, but I think that all those 
people you're making a movie for, who are sitting on the other side of the 
choices as you're working, change a lot. Maybe they're the people you live 
around. Eventually, no matter what I think I'm doing, maybe I'm making 
movies for people here. You don't make movies for some abstraction, for 
the entire world or for some world market. 

RL: Isn't Paul Mclsaac/Doc a key figure in the absence of bitterness in the 
tone of Route One? He strikes me as a kind of Studs Terkel figure, sounding 
the pulse of America. 

RK: Absolutely. This is a very old friendship. Route One is the third film 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 




In Ice, Robert Kramer dramatized the fantasy 
of an urban insurrection circa 1968. 

Courtesy Museum of Modern Art Film Archives 



in a trilogy which starts in 1968 with Ice, where Paul plays the role of the 
leader of an underground revolutionary organization, followed by Doc's 
Kingdom. 

RL: How did you deal with the question of the presence/absence of 
character/narrator in writing, shooting, and editing? 

RK: The backbone of the film is the trip down Route One — a voyage which 
meant discovery, not planning, which meant not faking discovery. The idea 
was that the movie would mirror the actual rhythm of the trip. But I don't 
believe I make documentaries anymore, and I don't believe in anything like 
objectivity. So the really critical formulation was that this trip was being 
made by two people: Robert behind the camera and his friend Doc. We 
developed a style of work very early that tried to mirror the reality of trips 
you make with other people. I'm interested in some things, but the other 
person is not necessarily interested, goes his own way, gets into his own 
things, invites me along to see that, I invite him to see my interests. We'd 
arrive someplace, and very often we'd just divide up the ground: "Well I'm 
basically interested in these kinds of things, now given this character of the 
Doctor, what are you interested in? What do you want to do?" 

For example. Doc is not present at all around the fundamentalists. He 
hated the fundamentalists. Why did he hate the fundamentalists? Because 
he lives in America. He knows about them, and he didn't want anything to 
do with them. We actually filmed a scene where he goes to one of their 
meetings, gets up, and walks out very ostentatiously in the middle of it. On 
the other hand I hadn't been close to this reality. I thought and still think 
about it very differently than he does. I'm more prepared to understand the 
roots of it: how people get there from their upbringing — and I don't mean 
that in terms of strict religious upbringing, I mean in terms of Americana as 
well as the pressures of the society and its disillusions. So I just dove in, and 
he disappears. Once we had this idea that Robert and Doc were making the 
trip, we still had to find — not who is Doc, because he'd really developed that 
character for Doc's Kingdom — but how is Doc supposed to act while we're 
shooting? Is he responsible to the idea of making a movie? This means that 
he has a tendency to become a person who asks questions on behalf of 
someone other than himself, for the camera; he's an interviewer. Or you've 
got to find a whole new vocabulary of acting so that he can just be. 

And there's where certain technical developments come in: a camera that 
definitively separates sound from picture so that there are no more claps, no 
more beeps; everything is time-coded on film. Transmitter mics. I know 
what Doc is doing when he's in another room. An example of that kind of 
work is in the soup kitchen in Providence, Rhode Island, where I was free 
to develop the kinds of things that I was interested in and the sound man can 
tell me, "Doc is beginning to have an interesting conversation with a woman 
in another room." I could work my way over, effectively writing the 
scenario. On paper, I would have written, "wide shot shows Doc talking in 
the background, closeup of the priest, we hear Doc off. Doc's hands as...." 



In practice, I could leisurely make my way across the room to find him in 
conversation. 

We sorted all this out within the first six weeks of shooting, so we had 
worked out the vocabulary for this movie during the first third of the work 
and discovered a way to go farther and farther with it. I find very often that 
it's very hard to even pose the questions before you're in the middle of a 
problem. It's not like inventing revolutionary new forms, but relatively new 
forms. It's extremely hard to sit in your room in Paris and think about how 
this is going to work out. 

If you look at the written text before Route One, the very first five or six 
pages I wrote before we received funding really give a very good idea of the 
finished movie with one exception — there's no Doc character whatsoever. 
When I was in the States I got a call from Paris and was told, "We need 
another document." I sat down and wrote 25 pages, which read like a fiction 
film script. In that Doc is the central character. When Richard Copans 
arrived, he was completely freaked out that we were losing the adventure of 
the trip and were going to make some kind of bastard fiction film, the worst 
sort of docudrama where you introduce a character into an environment in 
order to use the character as a probe to hide the documentary axis of the 
movie. I didn't want that either. 

Later on in the film Doc disappears for a big chunk of time; this was a 
development that was talked through and worked out between Paul and me 
for weeks in advance. The idea behind this was a real collision between the 
footloose filmmaker, Robert — perhaps reflected in the fact that I live 
abroad — and Paul about the question of social responsibility: who's stick- 
ing to their guns, and what am I doing globe-trotting and hanging out in 
Europe with the artsy crowd when the nation is dying. He doesn ' t know what 
he's doing either, but he doesn't pretend to know and he's not running away. 
This collision is reformulated in the fiction of the movie when Doc says, 
"Apparently as a filmmaker you can go on forever travelling with this 
particular kind of relationship to people 's lives, moving through their hearts 
and onto the next heart. But I'm a doctor, and a doctor only has sense in the 
context of being somewhere and having patients. I have to settle down and 
I'm settling down." And I say, "What do you mean? You're abandoning 
me." "No, I'm not abandoning you. I'm just saying that, for my sanity, I have 
to settle down and I'm settling down." This was an actual rupture in our 
relationship, and we never got back together again. Doc appears again, but 
he appears as a "real" fictional character. We never talk to one another 
across the camera again. This is practically the only time in the movie when 
the camera seems omniscient, invisible, two inches away from his nose or 
with his girlfriend in private or going behind his back to his supervisor at the 
hospital to ask how much he's being paid. 

RL: Towards the end of Route One, Doc, who at one point speaks of being 
"a healer in a landscape of death," is threatened with being dispossessed by 
a lawyer representing Doc's landlord. Is this a comment on those people 
who went into law in the seventies as a means lo change American societ\ . 
only to find themselves in mainstream commercial law without understand- 
ing how they got there? 

RK: That's it exactly — people with the best intentions. For example a 
sincere, independent-minded filmmaker tries to find someone in the States 
to talk to about the movie they want to make and ends up in front of 
somebody at PBS. This is analogous to the lawyer who is now defending 
some part of Donald Trump's empire without ha\ ing meant to. That's the 



APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 




From Route One/USA. 

Courtesy Interama 



same as the PBS executive explaining how the film has to be fit into a slot 
that is prearranged for a certain kind of production, coupled with all the 
arguments about defending PBS as the last isolated bastion in a wasteland 
of television. Looking at it from abroad, from another culture, that's 
basically garbage. 

RL: What has been PBS's reaction to Route Onel Did you offer it to them? 

RK: The PBS thing is something of a mystery. The PBS thing was like 
mush. 

I made my initial contacts with CPB and PBS when the film was already 
fully financed in Europe, and I couldn't find anybody to talk to. Producers 
calling from France, going to the States, could not find somebody to talk to 
seriously about this project. Period. 

The idea was to approach stations along Route One. This became so 
frustrating, we said, "We're not used to being treated this way. We'll deal 



with it with a finished film." PBS actually never really even said anything. 
To simplify the story, Route One is sold in every major market in the world, 
primetime television screenings in England, France, theatrical openings in 
Japan. The US is the only market where it's not being shown. The 
Minneapolis station has been sitting on it for nine months saying, "We're 
working on it. It's really complicated." I know that it was refused outright 
by a program called P.O.V. I think that Turner TV was much more 
interested. Every time PBS representatives see it in Europe, at any of these 
markets, they rave about it, say, "We'll have an answer in...." And 
then. . .nothing. A couple of them really loved the film, but their interest just 
sort of melts. Is it the length? 

RL: The French have always been intrigued by the American tradition of 
grappling in very direct terms with the most crucial zones of conflict in 
American society: Vietnam, racism, nuclear power. Do you consider that 
there are any contemporary French filmmakers dealing with major social 
issues? 

RK: The company that I work with, Les Films d'Ici, has been instrumen- 
tal in helping to focus what they and everybody else call documentary films. 
They're interested in films that actually try to come to terms with the world 
in much more direct ways than elaborate scenarios hiding behind actors. 
There's also an enormous increase in the volume of production of movies 
that try to tackle things in other ways. That's quite recent. The problem is 
that any kind of attempt to come to better terms with the world around us is 
going to require a lot of formal changes. It's not just a question of the point 
of view spoken on the soundtrack. It's not as simple as an argument or an 
opinion that is stated. It's about finding forms that make it possible for a 
viewer to experience the world differently. I'm not sure whether this new 
wave of so-called documentary work is really doing that. What it's doing is 
vivifying the tradition in filmmaking that reflects the position: "The world 
turns me on, and that's why I make movies," beginning with Vertov. Other 
people might say. "I love the studio, and that's what turns me on." Both 
traditions are valuable, but the one about "I love the world and it turns me 
on" is constantly in danger of becoming lost behind artifice and a commod- 
ity orientation, or becoming the false territory of television. For the most 
part, television just puts up some more veils in another form. So the 
documentaire de creation happening right now in France is really great.* 
You can see the effect in a movie by Claire Denis, S'enfout la mort (Don't 
Give a Damn about Death), which was filmed in a really free way and gets 
back to the tradition of being in touch with the things that surround us. 

I shot another movie in the same vein as Route One, taking as a starting 
point a dance company that ' s looking for their next dance, while I'm looking 
for a movie. It's called Maquette (Sketch or Scale Model). The dancers are 
one part of that movie but so is where I'm living, and the city of Toulon, 
and my daughter who's leaving home, and an attempt to bring lots of differ- 
ent elements in life into some kind of relationship. I'll edit it in the spring. 
The movie goes a step further than Route One, in the sense that now there's 
only the camera and a voice behind the camera. It's difficult to go much 
farther than that, following a line of subjectivity that envelops completely 



* Over the last 10 years, the term documentaire de creation was coined to refer, in 
generic terms, to any departure in documentary style and narrative mode from 
dominant television reportage and its self-proclaimed objectivity. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



From Route One/USA. 

Courtesy Interama 



the world of filmmaking and what you're seeing through the lens. 

I also had a grant to live and work in Berlin for six months. The first month 
was almost entirely consumed by a project that was commissioned by La 
Sept [the French television channel]. They are producing a series of films, 
each a one-hour continuous shot, a plan-sequence. There are about 16 
directors around the world who were asked to contribute to the series, which 
is called Live. I accepted on the principle that I had been working in this area 
of en direct, the kind of shooting situations in Route One and Maquette. The 
only difference is that I've gotten into the habit of turning the camera on and 
off, editing as I'm shooting. I wasn't interested in real time, certainly not in 
the illusion that because the camera is running continuously the record that 
you have is more real than if you shoot for two seconds and cut it up. I 
actually sweated blood for a month. At first I thought in terms of trying to 
find an external situation that was rich enough, that would sustain an hour- 
long, uncut shot. The first time I shot was on the day of the reunification of 
Germany. But I kept having the same experience: the plan-sequence would 
start. I would jack myself up, shoot 1 or 1 5 minutes, and begin to feel I was 
wading through the most boring, awful, unnecessary passage of video. Then 
I would turn off the thing and go home. Or I would turn off my camera and 
start really shooting — in pieces. It was the pieces that actually attracted me, 
because more and more it's compression and juxtaposition that I'm inter- 
ested in — the explosion that starts to come when you push things up against 
one another in unexpected ways. A lot of Route One is built that way. 

RL: One thinks one's in a scene at Fort Bragg, then we're with Pat Reese 
and the transvestite, and all of a sudden we're back at Fort Bragg. 

RK: It's so clear that our subjective experience is so rich compared to the 
art forms we're given to look at. Most movies are linear, and our own 
subjective experience isn't linear at all; it's back and forth memory, imagin- 
ing the future, the present. Finally Berlin had a tremendous effect on me. It 
was like going home, and yet I had never been there before. This had a lot 
to do with the effect of German culture on an entire generation of American 
Jews, and New York in the fifties. I actually realized that I had gone through 
all this once before in my life, analyzed why Thomas Mann was so important 
in my household, why I didn't like to go to the Philharmonic — plus being 
confronted with the Holocaust, things I had not dealt with at all. Also the 
crumbling of a whole body of ideas in the East which had had real, material 
importance in my life. The intersection was incredibly rich. 

I realized that I shouldn't be making a film about something outside of 
myself. I should be finding some kind of a way to make a film about this 
turmoil, this confusion, this love-hate thing with Berlin. There, compared 
to France before, I was confronted with a culture that constantly makes me 
want to film, to talk, where I feel an enormous tension and all of a sudden 
a hole of incomprehension about how it led from these ideas to that reality 
of horror. You find places like the very beautiful building called the Gropius 
Bau, designed by the Bauhaus architect Walter's grandfather, next to the 
preserved cellars of the torture chambers of the Gestapo. You can pan down 
from the building to the cellars. Well, in fact, you can't — that's the point — 
you've got to cut. That was another of my plans-sequences which was 
impossible to film. Finally I took all these pieces of plans-sequences, plus 
other things and cut a one-hour movie. I put a television in an enormous tiled 
bathroom that resembled the basement of the Gestapo headquarters, and I 
refilmed the television and myself for an hour. C'cstpasmal. I'm talking the 




whole time about the TV, and I'm also talking on the TV. Sometimes I'm 
behind the camera talking to me, the person who's talking behind the camera 
on the TV. Sometimes the camera is fixed, and I talk into it as directly as I 
can. 

I think this may be the end of the road here — an attempt to feel 
comfortable talking during your own movie, which is like an essay, a 
European film form that I have a great deal of admiration for and have never 
been able to feel comfortable with and couldn't do yet. In Maquette I really 
wanted to make the camera a subtle and comfortable extension of myself 
talking to people, almost all head on: Robert behind the camera and 
someone in front of the camera, a very specific relationship. With the Berlin 
movie, it's out from behind the camera. I think the line of development etuis 
there, and I need to go do some fiction filmmaking to start all o\ er again. 

Roy Lekus is tin expatriate American filmmaker living in Paris who is also 
returning to the US to produce a film. 



APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



Black Macho Revisited 

REFLECTIONS OF A SNAP! QUEEN 



MARION RIGGS 



Ni 



lEGRO FAGGOTRY IS IN FASHION. 

SNAP! 

Turn on your television and camp queens greet you in living color. 

SNAP! 

Turn to cable and watch America's most bankable modern minstrel 
expound on getting "fucked in the ass" or his fear of faggots. 

SNAP! 

Turn off the TV, turn on the radio: rotund rapper Heavy D, the self-styled 
"overweight lover MC," expounds on how his rap will make you "happy 
like a faggot in jail." Perhaps to pre-empt questions about how he would 
know — you might wonder what kind of "lover r he truly is — Heavy D 
reassures us that he's just "extremely intellectual, not bisexual" (BLK, 
March 1990). 

Jelly-roll SNAP! 

Negro Faggotry is in vogue. Madonna commodified it into a commercial hit. 
Mapplethorpe photographed it and art galleries drew fire and record crowds 
in displaying it. Black macho movie characters dis' — or should we say 
dish? — their antagonists with unkind references to it. Indeed references to, 
and representations of, Negro Faggotry seem a rite of passage among 
contemporary Black male rappers and filmmakers. Observe the pageantry: 



Snap-swish-and-dish divas have truly arrived, giving beauty shop drama 
center stage, performing the read-and-snap two-step as they sashay across 
the movie screen, entertaining us in the castles of our homes — like court 
jesters, like eunuchs — with their double entendres and dead-end lusts, and 
above all, their relentless hilarity in the face of relentless despair. Negro 
Faggotry is the rage! Black Gay men are not. For in the cinematic and 
television images of and from Black America as well as the words of music 
and dialogue which now abound and seem to address my life as a Black Gay 
Man, I am struck repeatedly by the determined, unreasoning, often irrational 
desire to discredit my claim to Blackness and hence to Black manhood. 

In consequence the terrain Black Gay men navigate in the quest for self 
and social identity is, to say the least, hostile. What disturbs — no, enrages 
— me is not so much the obstacles set before me by whites, which history 
conditions me to expect, but the traps and pitfalls planted by my so-called 
brothers, who because of the same history should know better. 

I am a Negro Faggot, if I believe what movies, TV, and rap music say of 
me. My life is game for play. Because of my sexuality. I cannot be Black. 
A strong, proud, "Afrocentric" Black man is resolutely heterosexual, not 
even bisexual. Hence I remain a Negro. My sexual difference is considered 
of no value: indeed it's a testament to weakness, passivity, the absence of 
real guts — balls. Hence I remain a sissy, punk, faggot. I cannot be a Black 
Gay Man because by the tenets of Black Macho, Black Gay Man is a triple 
negation. I am consigned, by these tenets, to remain a Negro Faggot. And 
as such I am game for play, to be used, joked about, put down, beaten, 
slapped, and bashed, not just by illiterate homophobic thugs in the night, but 
by Black American culture's best and brightest. 





32 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



In a community where the dozens, signifying, dis'ing, and dishing are 
revered as art form, I ask myself: What does this obsession with Negro 
Faggotry signify? What is its significance? 

What lies at the heart, I believe, of Black America's pervasive cultural 
homophobia is the desperate need for a convenient Other within the 
community, yet not truly of the community, an Other onto which blame for 
the chronic identity crises afflicting the Black male psyche can be readily 
displaced, an indispensible Other which functions as the lowest common 
denominator of the abject, the base line of transgression beyond which a 
Black man is no longer a man, no longer Black, an essential Other against 
which Black men and boys maturing, struggling with self-doubt, anxiety, 
feelings of political, economic, social, and sexual inadequacy — even impo- 
tence — can always measure themselves and by comparison seem strong, 
adept, empowered, superior. 

Indeed the representation of Negro Faggotry disturbingly parallels and 
reinforces America's most entrenched racist constructions around African 
American identity. White icons of the past signifying "Blackness" share 
with contemporary icons of Negro Faggotry a manifest dread of the deviant 
Other. Behind the Sambo and the Snap Queen lies a social psyche in 
torment, a fragile psyche threatened by deviation from its egocentric/ 
ethnocentric construct of self and society. Such a psyche systematically 
defines the Other's "deviance" by the essential characteristics which make 
the Other distinct, then invests those differences with intrinsic defect. 
Hence: Blacks are inferior because they are not white. Black gays are 
unnatural because they are not straight. Majority representation of both 
affirm the view that Blackness and gayness constitute a fundamental rupture 
in the order of things, that our very existence is an affront to nature and 
humanity. 

For Black Gay men, this burden of (mis)representation is compounded. 
We are saddled by historic caricatures of the Black Male, now fused with 
newer notions of the Negro Faggot. The resultant dehumanization is multi- 
layered and profound. 

What strikes me as most insidious, and paradoxical, is the degree to 
which popular African American depictions of us as Black Gay men so 

Opposite left:/n Living Color's popular "Men on Film" skit 
features two sharp-tongued, frivolous, often buffoonish SNAP! 
queens. 

Opposite right: A confrontation in Michael Schultz' Car Wash 
culminates in the following exchange: 

Militant revolutionary: Would you please get outta my face, you 
sorry looking faggot. 

Queen: Who you calling sorry looking? 

[Others laugh] 

Militant: Can't you all see that she ain't funny? She's just another 
poor example of how the system has of destroying our men. 

Queen: I am more man than you'll ever be and more woman 
than you'll ever get. [Snap!] 



keenly resonate in American majority depictions of us, as Black people. 
Within the Black Gay community, for example, the Snap! contains a 
mulitplicity of coded meanings: as in — SNAP! — "Got your point!" Or — 
SNAP!— "Don't even try it." Or— SNAP!— "Youfiercel" Or— SNAP!— 
"Get out of my face." Or — SNAP! — "Girlfriend, pleeeease." The snap can 
be as emotionally and politically charged as a clenched fist, can punctuate 
debate and dialogue like an exclamation point, a comma, an ellipsis, or 
altogether negate the need for words among those who are adept at decoding 
its nuanced meanings. 

But the particular appropriation of the snap by Hollywood's Black Pack 
deflates the gesture into rank caricature. Instead of a symbol of communal 
expression and, at times, cultural defiance, the snap becomes part of a 
simplistically reductive Negro Faggot identity: it functions as a mere 
signpost of effeminate, cute, comic homosexuality. Thus robbed of its full 
political and cultural dimension, the snap, in this appropriation, descends to 
stereotype. 

Is this any different from the motives and consequences associated with 
the legendary white dramatist T.D. Rice, who more than 150 years ago 
appropriated the tattered clothes and dance style of an old crippled Black 
man, then went on stage and imitated him. thus shaping in the popular 
American mind an indelible image of Blacks as simplistic and poor yet 
given, without exception, to "natural" rhythm and happy feet? 

A family tree displaying dominant types in the cultural iconography of 
Black men would show, I believe, an unmistakable line of descent from 
Sambo to the Snap Queen, and in parallel lineage, from the Brute Negro to 
the AIDS-infected Black Homo-Con-Rapist. 

What the members of this pantheon share in common is an extreme 
displacement and distortion of sexuality. In Sambo and the Snap Queen 
sexuality is repressed, arrested. Laughter, levity, and a certain child-like 
disposition cement their mutual status as comic eunuchs. Their alter egos, 
the Brute Black and the Homo Con, are but psychosocial projections of an 
otherwise tamed sexuality run amuck, bestial, promiscuous, pathological. 

Contemporary proponents of Black macho thus converge with D.W. 
Griffith in their cultural practice, deploying similar devices towards simi- 
larly dehumanizing ends. In their constructions of "unnatural" sexual 
aggression, the infamous chase scene in Birth of a Nation displays a striking 
aesthetic kinship to the homophobic jail rap — or should I say, attempted 
rape? — in Reginald and Warrington Hudlin's House Party. 

The resonances go deeper. 

Pseudo-scientific discourse fused with popular icons of race in late- 
nineteenth-century America to project a social fantasy of Black men, not 
simply as sexual demons, but significantly, as intrinsically corrupt. Dis- 
eased, promiscuous, destructive — of self and others — our fundamental 
nature, it was widely assumed, would lead us to extinction. 

Against this historical backdrop consider the highly popular comedy 
routines of Eddie Murphy, which unite Negro Faggotry, "Herpes Simplex 
10" — and AIDS — into an indivisible modern icon of sexual terrorism. Rap 
artists and music videos resonate with this perception, fomenting a social 
psychology that blames the victim for his degradation and death. 

The sum total of prime-time fag pantomines. camp queens as culture 
critics, and the proliferating bit-part svvish-and-dish divas who, like ubiqui- 
tous Black maids and butlers in fifties Hollywood films, nunc along the 
edges of the frame, seldom at (he center, manifests the persistent ps\ choso- 
cial impulse toward control, displacement, andmarginalizationot the Black 
Gay Other. This impulse, in many respects, is no different than the phobic, 
distorted projections which motivated blackface minstrelsy. 



APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 




This is the irony: there are more Black male filmmakers and rap artists 
than ever, yet their works display a persistently narrow, even monolithic 
construction of Black male identity. 

"You have to understand something," explained Professor Griff of the 
controversial and highly popular rap group Public Enemy in an interview. 
"In knowing and understanding black history, African history, there's not 
a word in any African language which describes horhosexual, y'understand 
what I'm saying? You would like to make them part of the community, but 
that's something brand new to black people." 

And so Black Macho appropriates African history, or rather, a deeply 
reductive, mythologized view of African history, to rationalize homopho- 
bia. Pseudo-academic claims of "Afrocentricity" have now become a 
popular invocation when Black Macho is pressed to defend its essentialist 
vision of the race. An inheritance from Black Cultural Nationalism of the 
late sixties, and Negritude before that, today's Afrocentrism, as popularly 
theorized, premises an historical narrative which runs thus: Before the white 
man came, African men were strong, noble, protectors, providers, and 
warriors for their families and tribes. In pre-colonial Africa, men were truly 
men. And women — were women. Nobody was lesbian. Nobody was 
feminist. Nobody was gay. 

This distortion of history, though severe, has its seductions. Given the 
increasingly besieged state of Black men in America, and the nation's 
historic subversion of an affirming Black identity, it is no wonder that a 
community would trun to pre-Diasporan history for metaphors of empow- 
erment. But the embrace of the African warrior ideal — strong, protective, 
impassive, patriarchal — has cost us. It has set us down a perilous road of 
cultural and spiritual redemption, and distorted or altogether disappeared 
from historical record the multiplicity of identities around color, gender, 
sexuality, and class, which inform the African and African American 
experience. 

It is to me supremely revealing that in Black Macho's popular appropria- 
tion of Malcolm X (in movies, music, rap videos) it is consistently Malcolm 
before Mecca — militant, Macho, "by any means necessary" Malcolm — 
who is quoted and idolized, not Malcolm after Mecca, when he became 
more critical of himself and exclusivist Nation of Islam tenets, and em- 
braced a broader, multicultural perspective on nationalist identity. 

By the tenets of Black Macho, true masculinity admits little or no space 
for self-interrogation or multiple subjectivities around race. Black Macho 
prescribes an inflexible ideal: strong Black men — "Afrocentric" Black 
men — don't flinch, don't weaken, don't take blame or shit, take charee. 



Above left: Eddie Murphy: Faggots aren't allowed to look at my ass while 
I'm up here. Thaf s why I keep moving while I'm up here. You don't know 
where the faggot section is, so you gotta keep moving. So if they do see it, 
it's quick and you switch. They don't get no long stare at your shit. 

Above right: The rivalry between political activists and the Gamma Phi 
Gamma fraternity in Spike Lee's School Daze reachs the boiling point 
when the politicos taunt the Gammaites with the chant: "Gamma/ 
Gamma/Gamma/Gamma/Fag/Fag/Fag/Fag." 

step-to when challenged, and defend themselves without pause for self- 
doubt. 

Black Macho counterpoises this warrior model of masculinity with the 
emasculated Other: the Other as punk, sissy, Negro Faggot, a status with 
which any man, not just those who, in fact, are gay, can be and are branded 
should one deviate from rigidly prescribed codes of hypermasculine con- 
duct. 

"When I say Gamma, you say Fag. Gamma. Fag. Gamma. Fag." In the 
conflict between the frat boys and the "fellas" in Spike Lee's School Daze. 
verbal fag-bashing becomes the weapon of choice in the fellas' contest for 
male domination. In this regard Lee's movie not only resonates a poisonous 
dynamic in contemporary Black male relations, but worse. Lee glorifies it. 

Spike Lee and others like him count on the complicit silence of those who 
know better, who know the truth of their own lives as well as the diverse 
truths which inform the total Black experience. 

Notice is served. 

Our silence has ended. 

SNAP! 

Marlon Riggs teaches in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University 
of California/Berkeley. His videotapes include Anthem, Affirmations, 
Tongues Untied, and the Emmy-award winning Ethnic Notions. 



This essay was first delivered as a talk at the conference "African- American Film and 
Media Culture: A Re-Examination" at the Whitney Museum of American Art in June 
1990. It will be published in Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men. 
edited by Essex Hemphill (Boston: Alyson Publications. 1991), and in Black 
American Literature Forum (May 1991), a special issue on Black film edited by 
Camille Billops. Valerie Smith, and Ada Gay Griffin. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



RENEE TAJIMA 



"As we are in the first generation to face a world 
which our race will not continue by virtue of 
nuclear annihilation, we are orphans cast against 
a blank future." That is how videomaker Terese 
Svoboda describes Orphans, her new 21 -minute 
tape which attempts to mythologize that legacy. 
In Orphans, a fortune teller is seduced by the devil 
in order to turn the end of the world, Mobius strip- 
like, into the Garden of Eden. Shot on the Lower 
East Side of New York City, the video features 
Terence Mann, William Raymond, and Caroline 
Simonds, with music by Anne LeBaron. Svoboda 
shot Orphans on Betacam and completed post- 
production through the Standby and On-Line 
programs at Editel and Magno. Orphans received 
funding from the New York State Council on the 
Arts, the Jerome Foundation, Studio Pass, and 
Cast Iron TV, and premiered last fall in Harvest- 
works' Listen In series. Orphans: Svoboda/Bull 
Productions, 56 Ludlow, New York, NY 10002. 

Over a decade after his assassination, the late, 
great San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk is the 
subject of a new documentary. Hymn for Har- 
vey, a 28-minute tape by Glenn Davis, Robert 
Orban, and Joe Soto of DSO productions in San 
Francisco, is described as a docu-art piece. In it, 
Bob Ross, publisher of the country's largest gay 
weekly; Randy Shilts, author of And the Band 
Played On and The Mayor of Castro Street; and 
Harry Britt, president of the San Francisco Board 
of Supervisors, recall Milk's life and look at the 
gay rights movement as it evolved since his death. 
One previously unheard interview features Milk 
offering his views on political and personal mo- 
rality in the gay community and the world at large. 
Hymn for Harvey: DSO Productions, 601 Van 
Ness Ave., Ste. E 3425, San Francisco, C A 94 1 02; 
(415)775-9785. 

New York-based videomaker Douglas Eisen- 
stark has released two new works. Leonardo: 
The Mind of the Painter is an 1 8-minute, experi- 
mental piece about the artist/scientist in the year 
1501, when scientific exploration dominated his 
time. Today, Leonardo Da Vinci defines the 
"Renaissance man," but in his own time, he stood 
at the nexus of the social and political forces that 
we are now redefining. Leonardo was shot in 
super VHS in Yugoslavia, Germany, and Italy, 
with actors Peter and Sonya Melocco and Karmen 
Poropat. Eisenstark composed the original music 
for the tape with Maurizio Najt, which was re- 
corded at Harmonic Ranch by Brook Williams 
and Laura Hirshberg. Funding for Leonardo was 
provided by the Jerome Foundation. Eisenstark 
has alsocompleted a 90-minute compilation of his 
short experimental and documentary films and 
videos from the years 1975-90, entitled Partial 
Listing. The compilation reel includes clips from 
A True Country, an experimental tape shot in 
Peru; the documentary Food Chains, about food 



coops in Chicago; Blockade and Trident, two anti- 
nuclear newsreels; and We Have to Link, about 
Third World organizing at the June 12, 1982Rally 
for Disarmament. Leonardo: The Mind of the 
Painter and Partial Listing: Douglas Eisenstark, 
58 Ludlow, New York NY 10002. 

AIVF member Catherine Russo has just 
completed Fedefam. a 40-minute video focusing 
on the 100,000 people who have "disappeared" at 
the hands of the military and death squads through- 
out Latin America. The heroes of this documen- 
tary are the families who have organized them- 




At the beginning of this century, Robert Henri 
led the Ash Can School of painters out of the 
studio and into the lower-class city streets. His 
art and life are the subject of a new film 
biography by Lori Maass and John Spence. 

Courtesy filmmakers 

selves into a force to challenge these regressive 
regimes and educate the international community 
about the causes of the disappearance of their 
loved ones. Russo and coproducer Carlotta Char- 
tier shot some of the footage at a conference of 
these families when they met in El Salvador. They 
then travelled throughout Latin America, gather- 
ing footage from the organizations representing 
families of the disappeared. Fedefam was made 
possible by the American Film Institute, the Na- 
tional Council of the Churches, and the New 
England Film/Video Fellowship Fund. Fedefam: 
Women Make Movies, 225 Lafayette St., New 
York, NY 10012. 



A new half-hour documentary. Robert Henri 
and the Art Spirit, about the painter, teacher, and 
activist, has just been completed by writer/pro- 
ducer Lori Maass and cinematographer/editor John 
Spence. Robert Henri was the leader of the so- 
called Ash Can School, which challenged the 
traditional styles and subject matter of American 
painting in the first decade of this century. With 
Henri at the helm, the group helped open the 
stagnant exhibition system to independent artists. 
Henri ' s students included Edward Hopper, Rock- 
well Kent, Ariel Durant, Leon Trotsky, and Clifton 
Webb. He was also author of the classic The Art 
Spirit. Maass and Spence's film biography in- 
cludes historical photographs, paintings, draw- 
ings, and on-location footage to build a portrait of 
Henri's career and artistic development. Funding 
came from the Nebraska Humanities Council, the 
Cooper Foundation, the John Sloan Memorial 
Foundation, the Nebraska Arts Council, the Robert 
Henri Museum, and others. Robert Henri and the 
Art Spirit: Spence Film Production, 3 141 Holdrege, 
Lincoln, NE 68503; (402)476-2683. 

Veteran film- and videomaker Ayoka Chen- 
zira is seeking production funding to complete her 
first feature, In All My Born Days. Shot in a 
Harlem brownstone, the film tells the poignant 
and humorous coming-of-age story of Rainbow 
Gold, the spirited daughter of the stern but loving 
Alma Gold. Rainbow's relationship with her 
pubescent peers, mother, and a recently returned 
"Gypsy" aunt are confusing enough. Then Alma, 
a widowed single parent and small business owner, 
meets a new man. And Ruby Gold, Alma's sister 
and former dance partner, sashays back into their 
lives after many years of performing in Europe, 
further upsetting the Gold household. To com- 
plete the film, which began principal photography 
last summer, Chenzira and the not-for-profit re- 
source organization Production Partners for Black 
and Latino Images are seeking tax-deductible 
contributions. In All My Born Days: Production 
Partners, 17 E. 17th St., 7th fl., New York, NY 
10003; (212)675-3000; fax: (212)675-3275. 

AIVF member Julie Gal has just completed 
The Road to Peace, an hour-long documentary 
that examines the role of Shimon Peres, described 
as "a hawk turned diplomatic dove," in shaping 
the future of Israel. The film looks at Peres' efforts 
to navigate the labyrinth of Middle East politics, 
his part in the events that led to the Palestinian 
uprising, his political battles, and his reflections. 
Moving from his childhood as a Polish immigrant 
through his adulthood as the young architect of 
Israel's defense, the film traces Peres' conversion 
from unconciliatory hawk to one of the countrj 's 
foremost proponents of negotiated peace with the 
Palestinians and the surrounding Arab states. It 
also documents the early seeds of this conversion . 
including his boyhood at a "youth village" that 
housed both Jews and Arabs. As an adult, the 
tenor of much of Peres' military and political 
career has been secrecy: secret negotiations with 
France in the 1950s to secure anus, secret con- 



APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 






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Future Tense, by Miguel Diaz Olmo, looks at the 

problems facing New York City youth by 

focusing on the lives of three American 

American and Latino children and their parents. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



tracts with King Hussein of Jordan to realize 
peace, and even the secret decision to dispatch a 
rescue team to Entebbe before the government of- 
ficially sanctioned the raid, as well as his ultimate 
inability to consummate a successful peace plan. 
The Road to Peace: Galex Foundation, 437 
Madison Ave., Ste. 2009, New York, NY 10022; 
(212) 988-7644. 

Last year, at locations throughout New York 
State, independents Julie Sperling and Douglas 
Freilich premiered their new documentary. Dying 
to Please: The Dolphin Dilemma. By focusing 
on swim-with-dolphins programs, the 60-minute 
film explores the larger issue of the appropriate 
use of marine mammals in captivity. More than 
40,000 people swam with dolphins in 1990 as a 
part of four experimental programs in Hawaii and 
the Florida Keys. In Dying to Please, Sperling and 
Freilich question the ethics of such amusements 
as well as the use of captured dolphins as tourist 
attractions. With narration by the actor Michael 
Landon, the film calls attention to the tension 
between education and exploitation. Dying to 
Please was funded in part by a number of organi- 
zations concerned with the welfare of animals, 
including the American Society for the Preven- 
tion of Cruelty to Animals, the Fund for Animals, 
the Culture and Animals Foundation, Interna- 
tional Society for Animal Rights, and the William 
and Charlotte Parks Foundation for Animal 
Welfare. Dying to Please: The Dolphin Dilemma: 
Biosphere Films, Box 411, Phillips Brook Rd., 
Garrison, NY 10524; (914) 424-3769. 

The systematic destruction of a squatters' build- 
ing in the East Village neighborhood of New York 
City is documented in How to Squash a Squat, 
by videomaker Franck Goldberg. In the last days 
of the Koch administration, during the spring of 
1989, the combined city housing and police au- 
thorities joined forces to evict the ad hoc residents 
of the building. Goldberg chronicled the squat- 
ters' eviction after an arson fire and their fight to 
save the building against demolition — an action 
which resulted in the police occupation of three 
city blocks. How to Squash a Squat, shot "guerilla 
style" and edited on a shoe-string budget, at- 
tempts to show how a corrupt city government can 
use its police force to disregard the rule of law and 
violate the civil rights of the poor. How to Squash 
a Squat: Franck Goldberg, Box 695, New York, 
NY 10009-0695; (212) 677-7679. 

Independent producer Miguel Diaz Olmo, who 
works in both New York and Madrid, has com- 
pleted a new documentary on the youth of New 
York City. Future Tense tells the stories of three 
African American and Latino children and their 
parents and teachers in order to highlight the 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 




problems of escalating drop-out rates and schools 
and neighborhoods devastated by drug-related 
crime. In this 30-minute documentary members 
of the community themselves describe these prob- 
lems and directly relate them to a lack of afford- 
able housing, high unemployment, and a depend- 
ence on public assistance. Shot in super VHS and 
edited on three-quarter-inch video, Olmo com- 
pleted the piece last fall. Future Tense: Parallel 40 
Productions, 680-686 Fulton St., Ste. 3A, 
Brooklyn, NY 11217; (718) 596-3744. 

Massachusetts-based filmmaker John Lawrence 
Re has completed the video album Dominoes, 
intended as an audiovisual portrait of the 1 960s. In 
14 evolutionary tableaux, Dominoes conveys the 
director's view that during the turbulent decade 
"one thing led to another" — like dominoes. Rock 
'n' roll, revolution, the Vietnam War, and the 
youth culture of the sixties is distilled in this one- 
hour ensemble of archival footage and musical 
soundtracks, featuring such greats of the era as 
B.B. King's The Thrill Is Gone, Jimi Hendrix's 
Wild Thing, and Richie Havens' Freedom. Domi- 
noes has appeared on Cinemax and various public 
television stations. Re also plans to release the 
program as a special 90-minute laser disc. Domi- 
noes: Aurora Entertainment, 131 King St., 
Northampton, MA 01060; (413) 585-8772; fax: 
(413)586-8653. 



ATTENTION 
AIVF MEMBERS 



The In and Out of Production column is a 
regular feature in The Independent, designed 
to give AIVF members an opportunity to 
keep the organization and others interested 
in independent media informed about cur- 
rent work. We profile works-in-progress as 
well as recent releases. These are not critical 
reviews, but informational descriptions. 
AIVF members are invited to submit de- 
tailed information about their latest film or 
videotape for inclusion in In and Out of 
Production. Send descriptions and black 
and white photographs to: The Independent, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor., New York, NY 
! 00 1 2; attn: In and Out of Production. 



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This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Kathryn Bowser, director of the FIVF 
Festival Bureau. Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement. Since some details 
change faster than we do, we recommend 
that you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or tapes. 
In order to improve our reliability and 
make this column more beneficial to 
independents, we encourage all film- and 
videomakers to contact FIVF Festival 
Bureau with their personal festival 
experiences, positive and negative. 

Domestic 

BLACKLIGHT: A FESTIVAL OF BLACK INTER- 
NATIONAL CINEMA, August, IL. Month-long 
celebration of Black produced & oriented int'l cinema. 
Program incl. features, shorts, docs, videos, TV programs. 
Now in 10th yr, anniv. celebration will incl. workshops, 
possible competition & retros (incl. Sergio Giral, Latino 
films. Black British films, African works & films from 
fest's last 10 yrs). Several directors invited to attend. 
Held at Film Center of Art Institute of Chicago, DuSable 
Museum of African American History, Facets 
Multimedia & DocFilm at U. of Chicago. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, super 8, 8mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: June 
1. Contact: Floyd Webb, Blacklight, 213 W. Institute 
PL, Ste. 207, Chicago, IL 60610; (312) 664-4898; fax: 
(312)664-4899. 

GREAT LAKES FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, May, 
WI. Independently made, noncommercial films/videos 
of any genre eligible for 15th edition of fest, open to 
artists from EL, IN, IA, MI, MN, OH, WI. Substantial 
cash prizes awarded w/out regard to cat. or format. Entry 
fee: $25. Formats: 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Apr. 10. 
Contact: Great Lakes Film & Video, Box 413, Mil- 
waukee, WI 53201; (414) 229-6971. 

MARGARET MEAD FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. 23-26, 
NY. Now celebrating 1 5th y r, all doc/short fest programs 
films on family, cultural change, ritual. Incl. work on 
real people in real situations in US society or cultures 
throughout world: village & city life, nonwestem & 
western cultures, individual portraits & films on whole 
societies. Audiences number 7,000. No entry fee. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm; preview on 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: 
May 7. Contact: Malcolm Arth/Elaine Charnov/ 
Nathaniel Johnson, Margaret Mead Film Festival, 
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park 
Westat 79th St.,New York, NY 10024; (212) 769-5305; 
fax:(212)769-5233. 

MOUNTAINFILM, May 31 -June 3, CO. Mountain/ 
mountaineering themes & exploration/interpretation of 
natural places eligible for competitive fest. Separate 
video section. Cats: Grand Prize, mountaineering, 
mountain sports, mountain spirit, technical climbing. 



special jury award. No entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4". Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: Jim Bedford, 
Mountainfilm,Box 1088, 540 W. Galena Ave..Telluride, 
CO 81435; (303) 728-4123; fax: (303) 728-6933. 

ROBERT FLAHERTY SEMINAR, Aug. 3-10, NY. 37th 
annual event programmed by curator/producer Stephen 
Gallagher & film programmer Coco Fusco. Focus on 
discussion & criticism of contemporary film/video. 
Special section on contemporary Arab cinema, w/ focus 
on films from Magreb & how cultural perspectives 
affect representation of history & collective memory. 
Program also incl. int'l selection of films/videos that 
expand definitions of doc (neorealist techniques, 
experimental combos of fiction & doc, narrative 
docudrama, pseudo docs). Held at Wells College, Aurora, 
NY. Preview on 1/2" only. Deadline: May I. For 
registration, contact: Sally Berger, Int'l Film Seminars, 
305 W. 21 St., New York, NY 1001 1; (212) 727-7262. 

WINE COUNTRY FILM FESTIVAL, July 12-21, CA. 
5th yr of competitive fest set in northern CA's premium 
wine country; programs dramatic features, shorts, docs, 
animation, student films & videos. Noncompetitive film 
series: Independent Features, International Films, Arts 
in Film, Films from Commitment. Competition (Gaia 
Film Awards): open to films about planetary &/or 
environmental issues & films "that showcase planet's 
natural beauty, diversity of landscape & wildlife"; 
dramatic features, nonnarrative films & videos accepted 
in competition. Entry fee: $25. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 
3/4". Deadline: May 7. Contact: Justine Ashton, Wine 
Country Film Festival, 12000 Henno Rd., Box 303, 
Glen Ellen, CA 95442; (707) 996-2536; fax: (707) 996- 
6964. 



Foreign 



EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

Aug. 10-25, Scotland. Eclectic programming char- 
acterizes 45-yr-old noncompetitive fest. which show- 
cases 170 features, docs, work by new directors, 
animation. British premieres. Sections: Panorama, 
Retrospective. Young Filmmaker of the Year, Animation, 
Eyes of the World (contemporary doc). Late Night 
Sensations (new exploitation films). Work must be 
completed in previous 2 yrs. Entry fee: £28. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm; preview on 3/4", 1/2" (PAL). Deadline: 
May 24. Contact: David Robinson, Edinburgh Int'l Film 
Festival, Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Rd., Edinburgh, EH3 
9BZ, Scotland; tel: 3 1 228 405 1 ; fax: 3 1 229 5501 ; telex: 
72166. 

EUROPEAN MEDIA ART FESTIVAL, September, 
Germany. Experimental films, installations, video art, 
computer animation, performance, multimedia works 
accepted. Program also incl. retros, special programs. 
Compensation: 3DM/min. up to 150DM. Entries must 
be completed after Mar. 1 , 1990. No entry fee. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, super 8, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: May 3. 
Contact: Heiko Doxl/Rolf Sausmikat. European Media 
Ait Festival, Box 1861, D-4500 Osnabruck. Germany; 
tel: 49 541 21658; fax: 49 541 28327; telex: 94694 
STOSN D. 

GIJON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR 
YOUNG PEOPLE. July, Spain. Features or shorts made 
for youth accepted in all fest sections: official 
(competition & out-of-competition) & info section 
(Ourlines, Cycles, Retros). Awards: best feature, short, 
director, actress, actor, special jury prize, youth jury 
prize (jury of 200 aged 13-18). Entries must have been 
completed after Jan. 1, 1990 & una warded in other 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



FIAPF-recognized fest. Format: 35mm; preview on 1/ 
2" (PAL), 3/4" (NTSC), Beta. Deadline: Apr. 26. Contact: 
Festival Internacional de Cine de Gijon, c/o Emilio 
Villa, 4, Apartado de Correos 76, 3320 1 Gijon ( Asturias), 
Spain; tel: 985 343739. 



LOCARNO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

Aug. 8-18, Switzerland. For 3rd yr, FIVF hosting fest 
director David Streiff during his selection of ind. US 
features. Now in 44th yr as major Swiss cultural/ 
cinematic event, all-feature competitive fest known 
as "the smallest of the big festivals & the biggest of 
the small" w/ reputation for innovative programming 
& support of alternative visions from ind. directors & 
recently founded nat'l film industries. Unique open 
air screenings in Piazza Grande, which holds 8,000. 
Special sections & out-of-competition screenings 
included. Competition accepts 1st & 2nd fiction 
features by new directors, art films, low-budget films, 
work from 3rd World countries, indies & cinema 
d'auteur. Must be over 60 min., Swiss (preferably 
world) premieres, completed in previous 12 mo. & 
not awarded at other FIAPF-approved fests. 
Educational, advertising & scientific films ineligible. 
Prizes: Golden Leopard (Grand Prix) & City of 
Locarno Grand Prize (15,000SF); Silver Leopard 
(Grand Prix of Jury) & 2nd Prize of City of Locarno 
(10,000SF); Bronze Leopard & 3rd Prize of City of 
Locarno (5,O0OSF); honorable mention & technical 
prizes. Films should be French-subtitled. Fest provides 
5-day hospitality to reps of films in competition. 
Also has small market attended by many Swiss 
distributors & exhibitors. Streiff in NYC at end of 
April to prescreen entries on 3/4" & 1/2". Fest formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Handling fee: $20 (payable to FIVF). 
For info. & entry forms, send SASE to: Kathryn 
Bowser, FIVF Festival Bureau, 625 Broadway, 9th 
fl., New York, NY 10012; (212) 473-3400; fax: 
(212) 677-8732. Deadline: Apr. 19. In Switzerland: 
May 31 deadline. Contact: David Streiff, director, 
Locarno International Film Festival, Via della Posta 
6, CH-6600 Locarno, Switzerland; tel: 93 31 02 32; 
fax: 93 31 74 65; telex: 846565 FIFL. 



LUSSAS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, August, 
France. Estab. 1989, this noncompetitive all-doc fest 
features screenings, meetings & seminars on doc form. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", Beta. Deadline: May 15. 
Contact: Jean-Marie Barbe, Les Etats Generaux du 
Documentaire, Lussas 07170, France; tel: 75 94 28 06; 
fax: 75 94 28 81. 

MUNICH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, June 
22-30, Germany. Noncompetitive fest has history of 
showcasing US ind. films before annual audiences of 
100,000. 90-100 int'l films shown. Considered leading 
meeting place for film professionals. Sections: int'l 
section, perspectives (1st & 2nd work* of young 
directors), ind. film section, special screenings, children's 
section, short films & docs, lectures, tributes. Film 
Exchange (for developing contacts) also held. No entry 
fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm; preview on cassette. 
Contact: Internationale MiinchnerFilmwochenGmbH, 
TurkenstraBe 93, D-8000 Munich 40, Germany; tel: 89 
38 19 040; fax: 89 38 19 04 26; telex: 5214674 imf d. 

MYSTFEST, June, Italy. 1 2th edition of competitive fest 
organized to exhibit & promote films w/ mystery, crime 
& detection, horror, spy, thriller & gothic themes, held 
in Caltolica or Rimini. Official competition accepts 
35mm; noncompetitive 16mm & 35mm. Entries should 
be Italian premieres & unawarded in other FIAPF- 
recognized fests. Awards go to best film, leading actor/ 



actress, original story. Extensive media coverage. Fest 
pays round-trip expenses & hospitality for director & 
leading actor/actress of films in competition. Deadline: 
May 31. Contact: Giorgio Gosetti, director, MystFest, 
Via dei Coronari, 44, 001 86 Rome, Italy; tel: 06 654 41 
52; fax: 06 686 79 02; telex: 62 30 92 imago I. 

ODENSE FILM FESTIVAL, Aug. 2-8, Denmark. 
Deadline: May 1. 9th biennial of int'l fest for "unusual 
films w/ original & imaginative sense of creative delight," 
held in spirit of Hans Christian Andersen. Cats: fairytales; 
experimental/imaginative. Entries may be live or 
animated, up to 60 min., produced after Aug. 1, 1987. 
Awards: 1 st Prize: DKK35,000/statuette; 2nd Prize (most 
imaginative film): DKK15,000/statuette; 3rd Prize (most 
surprising film): DKK15,000/statuette; 4th-8th Prizes 
(special jury prizes). Fest also has youth jury. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm; preview on 3/4", 1/2" (PAL). Deadline: 
May 1. Contact: 9th Int'l Odense Film Festival, Vinde- 
gade 18, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark; tel: 45 66 1 3 72, 
ext. 4294; fax: 45 65 91 43 18. 

TAORMIN A INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, July, 
Italy. Now in 37th yr, fest features American Film Week 
w/ competitive section devoted to young American 
cinema (showcase for directors beginning careers). Cash 
awards. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Contact: Sandro Anas- 
tasi, Taormina Int'l Film Festival, Via B. Tortolini 36, 
Rome 00197, Italy; tel: 80 60 18; fax: 80 12 79. 

VELDEN FILM FESTIVAL OF NATIONS, June, Austria. 
Nonprofessional films & videos on any topic, under 30 
min., accepted for competition. Awards: Austrian 
Education & Art Minister's Prize, Upper-Austrian 
Governor's Prize, Gold, Silver & Bronze Medals. 
Formats: 16mm, super 8, video 8, 1/2" (PAL). Deadline: 
May 1. Contact: Filmfestival der Nationen, Fremden- 
verkehrsverband Ebensee, Haupstrasse 34, A-4802 
Ebensee, Austria; tel: 06133 8016. 

VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, August, 
Italy. At 48, Venice is world's longest running fest & 
one of the most prestigious. Attended by several thousand 
guests & large press contingent. Work shown in & out 
of competition. Awards: Golden Lion (best film); Grand 
Special Award, Silver Lion (best direction), Volpi Cup 
(best actor/actress); 3 Oselle (outstanding professional 
contributions). Sections: Venezia XLVII (main 
competiton ), noncompetitive sections Venezia Orizzonti 
(info, section: varied works illuminating current 
tendencies & aspects of cinema); Venezia Notte ( works 
of "an intelligently spectacular nature," entertaining but 
w/ style & content, shown at midnight); Venezia 
RiSguardi (retro of director, current, or theme); Venezia 
TV (exhibition of works recently made for TV); Eventi 
Speciali (screenings of "special & unusual appeal"); 
Settimana Internazionale della Critica (International 
Critics' Week- 1st & 2nd works; run as ind. part of fest). 
Films must be subtitled in Italian. Deadline: June 30. 
Contact: La Bienale di Venezia, Mostra Internazionale 
d'Arte Cinematografica, Settore Cinema e Spettacolo 
Televisivo, Ca Giustinian, 1364A San Marco, 30124 
Venice, Italy; tel: 520-031 1/520-0228 



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Buy ■ Rent ■ Sell 

THINK AHEAD: Room air conditioner for sale. Friedrich 
Powermiser. 6500 BTU/hr. Energy rating 9.4. In great 
condition. $375. Call Martha: (212) 473-3400. 

FOR SALE: Ikegami E-series camera w/ many extras 
incl. 4 on-board batteries, quad charger, portabrace 
carrying case, cables, etc. 2-piece Century wide angle 
lens negotiable. All in excellent condition. (203) 226- 
5289; leave message. 

FOR SALE: Arriflex 16SR, very good condition. 
Angenieux T15-10B, Cine 60 battery belt, hard case. 
$8,500.(718)706-7223. 

FOR SALE: Nagra 4.2 w/ crystal. Kangaroo case. Beyer 
phones: $3,500; Schoeps mike w/hyper-cardioid capsule 
& cut-1 filter: $1,200; Beaulieu 7008 S-8 Pro camera, 
$2,500; Nizo 6080 S-8 camera w/ crystal, $1,400. Dan 
(212)684-0025. 

LOOKING TO BUY parts & accessories for Arri SR 
camera. Matte boxes, extension viewfinders, T-bars. 
video taps, speed controls, you name it. Give me a call! 
Ralph (718) 284-0223. 

MINT BETAC AM EQUIP for sale: Sony B VW 30 camera 
w/BVW 1 A recorder. Also Sony BVW 25 recorder. For 
rent: Complete Betacam SP: 750-line resolution camera 
pkg available w/ award winning crew. Call Jack (212) 
673-7273/826-2935. 

WANTED BY CINEMATOGRAPHER: Aaton or Arri 
SR/BL &/or accessories. Call Chris (212) 781-9762. 

Freelancers 

HESSION-ZIEMAN PRODUCTIONS: Betacam & 
Betacam SP field prod, crew for docs, commercials, 
music videos, public relations, dance, etc. Sony B VW507 
camcorder w/ full lighting, sound & grip pkg. 
Experienced DP. (212) 529-1254. 



SCREENPLAY DOCTOR: Professional consultant & 
story analyst for major studios will analyze your 
screenplay or treatment at reasonable rates. Specialty 
indie/art films. (212) 219-9224. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Enthusiastic yet laid back, w/ 
solid commercial DP credits & big time feature operating 
experience seeks project w/ strong visual potential. Has 
gear. Call TW (212) 947-3366. 

FULL VIDEO SERVICES: Bilingual (Spanish/English) 
producer/prod, manager/photographer w/ 17 yrs exp. in 
Europe/Japan/Central Amer. & US avail, for long/short 
term. Special rate can incl. entire broadcast pkg. Ethel 
Velez (212) 949-3824; fax: (212) 255-3447. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER looking for interesting projects. 
Owner of an Arri 16SR & other camera & lighting 
equipment. Reasonable rates. Call Ralph (718) 284- 
0223. 

COMPUTERIZED BUDGETS: AICP productions & 
postprod. budgets, or Hollywood studio feature format. 
High or low, union or non, budget will match your 
needs. Fast & accurate. Competitive rates. Rush service 
avail. Unity Pics (212) 254-0965. 

BETACAM SP packages available: New B VW-507 (w/ 
700-line resolution). BVW-505 also avail. Your choice 
of field production package comes w/ award-winning 
videographer, Toyota 4-Runner & competitive rates. 
Call Hal at (201) 662-7526. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY available for dramatic 
16 or 35mm productions of any length. Credits include 
Metropolitan. Call to see my reel. John Thomas (201) 
783-7360. 

VIDEO PRODUCTION PKGS incl. camera, multi-format 
recording, tripod, lighting & audio accessories. 
Experienced camera person at reasonable rates. Also 
video transfers from 16mm, 8mm. photos, & slides (w/ 
dissolve). (212) 260-7748. 

AWARD WINNING CAMERAMAN w/ 16mm ACL II 
looking for challenging projects. Partial client list: ABC 
Sports, IBM, LIRR. Pitney Bowes, Wilderness Society. 
Complete crews avail., incl. sound & grip pkgs. 
Reasonable rates. Mike (718) 352-1287. 

CAMERAMAN w/extensive feature experience available 
for features, commercials & rock videos. Also owner of 
35 BL, SR, 3/4" SP & S-VHS. Lighting package & van. 
Call Tony at (212) 620-0084. 

BETACAM SP 507. Hi band 8mm & Arri SR pkgs avail, 
w/ well-traveled network/PBS camerman for doc, drama 
& music projects. Call Ed at (212) 666-7514. 

I'LL KEEP YOUR BUDGET IN LINE: Experienced 
composer seeks film & video projects to score. Equipped 
to handle all your needs from synth/sample arrangements 
to live ensembles. Call John P.T. Morris (718) 383- 
6109. 

NORMAN CORWIN DOCUMENTARY program devel- 
oping hour-long doc exploring residential program for 
homeless people w/ AIDS. We are seeking funds, in- 
kind donations, collaborators. Call Michel Milman (213) 
654-8682. 

THEATER TO VIDEO: New York stage produced & 
published playwright applying for grants to do plays on 
tape; seeks experienced video producer/director to be 
part of process. Pat (212) 962-7438. 

CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT company created 
specifically to service indies: script development, pre- 
post prod., marketing, PR, management, addresses 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



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individual needs. Full service or special project basis. 
Christina Spearman (215) 476-661 1. 

S-VHS PROD. OR OFFLINE PKG. Industrial Panasonic 
AG450 cam, Bogen Fluid w/ dolly, Sony BVM 8" field 
monitor, Sennheiser shotgun w/ boom, etc. w/ op./tech. 
$150 1/2 day, $250/day. Offline w/ Panasonic 7500 S- 
VHS. $1 ,000/wk. 24-hr access in E. Village. (212) 674- 
5062. 

DOCUMENTARY CAMERAWORK. Richard Chisolm. 
Film or tape. International experience. Awards. PBS. 
Call for reel. (301) 467-2997. 

SEEKING COPRODUCER w/ feature credits. Writer/ 
director w/ project seeks coproducer/production manager 
for independent feature project to be shot in NYC late 
summer/early fall. Call John (212) 666-8852. 

PRODUCTION MANAGER/PRODUCTION DESIGNER 

available for film & video projects. Experience w/ 
various formats & budgets. John J. Bruno (212) 666- 
8852. 

COMPOSER w/ independent film & video credits for 
your production. Synthesizers w/ SMPTE lock for big 
"movie music" sound &/or acoustic instruments for 
intimate scenes. Audio/video demo. Whistling Lion 
Productions, Jim (718) 273-7250. 

PRODUCTION ASS'T, poss. also research, feat/doc, US 
or abroad. Bkgd broadcast journ..langs: Ex'tFR.Genm, 
good Span, It. Exper. working in 3rd World. Good 
knowledge of Eastern Europe: people, places, 
institutions; some command of languages. Joschi (212) 
228-1490. 

COMPOSERS George Arevalo & Greg Kajfez want to 
collaborate w/ video/film artists. We produce evocative 
original scores to enhance your visual images. Call 
(718) 237-1066 or (718) 625-3459. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Aaton XTR pkg. 
includes Zeiss, Nikkor & video tap; avail, in the Pacific 
Northwest. Camera can rent separately. Call Lars (206) 
632-5796. 

SOUNDPERSON w/ gear, all set to work on your project. 
Recent credits include Janet Jackson's MTV show. Call 
for sliding scale rates. Kate Pourshariati (215) 242- 
1458. 

CABLE & INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO PROJECTS, hi- 

resolution camera, any format, steadycam Jr., knowledge 
of distribution & cable industry. We got the know-how 
if you want distribution or need to have it on cable. We 
get the job done, guaranteed. Greg (212) 420-0953. 
Sales rep wanted. 

BETACAM PACKAGE w/ tripod, lights, mics, award- 
winning cameraman, crew & transportation, avail, for 
your project at great rates. Fast & reliable. Broadcast 
quality. Call Eric (718) 389-7104. 

CINEMATOGR APHER w/ feature (4), doc & commercial 
credits avail, for film or video projects of any length. 
Personable, w/ strong visual sense & excellent lighting. 
Own equipment, at a reasonable rate you can afford. Call 
for demo: Eric (718) 389-7104. 



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transfers, stills, etc. Send SASE for rate sheet or call Bill 
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for rent. KEM flatbed, moviola, sound transfer & audio 
sweetening also available. Call Sim Sadler or Helen 
Crosby-Garcia at Finale Post-Production. (213) 461- 
6216. 

OFF LINE AT HOME! We will rent you 2 Sony 5850s w/ 
RM440 or RM450 edit controller & monitors. Low rates 
by the month, $650/wk. Answer your own phone & cut 
all night if you like. John (212) 245-1364 or 529-1254. 

SUPER OFF-LINE RATE: 2 Sony 3/4" w/ RM 450 edit 
controller, mixer, mic. $15/hr, $100/day, $400/wk. 
Midtown location, quiet, comfortable, private room. 
(212) 997-1464. 

RENTAL OF 16MM & 35MM motion picture projection 
systems for screenings at your location: delivered, set up 
& operated. We do composite, interlock & process 
projection to SMPTE specs. Navestar Screenings, 217 
W. 21 St., NY, NY 10011. 

16MM EDITING ROOM & OFFICE space for rent in 
suite of indies. Fully equipped w/ 6-plate Steenbeck & 
24-hr access. All windowed & new carpet. Located at 
W. 24th St. & 7th Ave. Reasonable rates. Call Jeff at 
Film Partners (212) 714-2313. 

3/4" OFF-LINE SYSTEM for rent. Cut at your location. 
Sony 9800/9850 decks (SP w/ Dolby & XLR output), 
RM 450 controller. Tascam 6-channel mixer w/ amp & 
speakers. 13" monitors w/ blue & underscan, TC reader. 
Long/short-term rental. (718) 392-6058. 

SHOOT! Sony broadcast pkg for rent. Includes Sony 
D VC3000 CCD camera w/ Fujinon 1 2X lens, AC adapter 
& tripod. BVU-110 w/ AC & batts. Battery charger. 
Omni light kit, stands & mic. (718) 392-6058. 

COBBLE HILL OFFLINE: Sony 5850 system $ 150/day, 
$500/wk in comfortable apartment near downtown 
Brooklyn. Copier, fax available. Call Fred at (718) 852- 
2643. 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound transfer facilities. 24-hr access. 
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negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

COZY & CHEAP: 3/4" off-line editing room w/ new 
Sony 5850, 5800, RM440. S 150/day, $500/week. 24-hr 
access, Midtown location. Call Jane at (212) 929-4795 
or Deborah at 226-2579. 

BETACAM SP: Sony BVW-530, Sachler Video 20, 
Lowell Omni-kit. Sony mics, S450/day. Same but 3/4" 
SP or Betacam, $350/day. Ike 730A & BVU1 10 w/ tc 
$175/day. Betacam or 3/4" SP to 3/4" SP cuts only w/ 
Amiga 2000 & switcher/still store S50/hr. Electronic 
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film to vid xfrs. New Matchback (212) 685-6283. 

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42 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



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WHien you join the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, you're doing something for yourself — and for 
others. Membership entitles you to a wide range of benefits. 
Plus, it connects you with a national network of independent 
producers. Adding your voice helps us all. The stronger ATVF 
is, the more we can act as advocate for the interests of inde- 
pendents like yourself — inside the corridors of Washington, 
with the press, and with others who affect our livelihoods. 



HE INDEPENDENT 

embership provides you with a year's 
ibscription to The Independent. Pub- 
shed 10 times a year, the magazine is 
vital source of information about the 
(dependent media field. Each issue 
;lps you get down to business with 
stival listings, funding deadlines, ex- 
bition venues, and more. Plus, you'll 
id thought-provoking features, 
>verage of the field's news, and 
gular columns on business, techni- 
il, and legal matters. 

HE FESTIVAL BUREAU 

VF maintains up-to-date information 
i over 650 national and international 
stivals, and can help you determine 
hich are right for your film or video. 

aison Service 

VF works directly with many foreign 
stivals, in some cases collecting and 
lipping tapes or prints overseas, in 
her cases serving as the U.S. host to 
siting festival directors who come to 
eview work. 

ipe Library 

embers can house copies of their 
>rk in the AIVF tape library for 
reening by visiting festival program- 
ers. Or make your own special 
reening arrangements with ATVF. 

fFORMATION SERVICES 
stribution 

person or over the phone, ATVF can 
ovide information about distributors 
id the kinds of films, tapes, and 
arkets in which they specialize. 



AJVF's Member Library 

Our library houses information on dis- 
tributors, funders, and exhibitors, as 
well as sample contracts, funding ap- 
plications, budgets, and other matters. 

SEMINARS 

Our seminars explore current busi- 
ness, aesthetic, legal, and technical 
topics, giving independent producers a 
valuable forum to discuss relevant 
issues. 



BOOKS AND TAPES 

ATVT has the largest mail order catalog 
of media books and audiotaped se- 
minars in the U.S. Our list covers all 
aspects of film and video production. 
And we're constantly updating our 
titles, so independents everywhere 
have access to the latest media infor- 
mation. We also publish a growing list 
of our own titles, covering festivals, 
distribution, and foreign and domestic 
production resource guides. 

continued 



r 




AIVF 

625 Broadway 
9th floor 
New York, NY 
10012 



♦ 



ADVOCACY 

Whether it's freedom of expression, 
public funding levels, public TV, 
contractual agreements, cable 
legislation, or other issues that affect 
independent producers, AIVF is 
there working for you. 

INSURANCE 
Production Insurance 

A production insurance plan, tailor- 
made for AIVF members and cover- 
ing public liability, faulty film and 
tape, equipment, sets, scenery, 
props, and extra expense, is avail- 
able, as well as an errors and omis- 
sions policy with unbeatable rates. 

Group Health, Disability, and Life 
Insurance Plans with TEIGIT 

ATVF currently offers two health 
insurance policies, so you're able to 
find the one that best suits your 
needs. 

Dental Plan 

Reduced rates for dental coverage 
are available to NYC and Boston- 
area members. 



DEALS AND DISCOUNTS 

Service Discounts 

In all stages of production and in most 
formats, AIVF members can take ad- 
vantage of discounts on equipment 
rentals, processing, editing services, 
and other production necessities. 

National Car Rental 

National offers a 10-20 percent dis- 
count to ATVF members. Write for the 
ATVF authorization number. 

Mastercard Plan 

Credit cards through the Maryland 
Bank are available to members with a 
minimum annual income of $18,000. 
Fees are waived the first year. 

Facets Multimedia Video Rentals 

ATVF members receive discounts on 
membership and mail-order video 
rentals and sales from this Chicago- 
based video rental organization. 

MORE TO COME 

Keep watching The Independent for in- 
formation about additional benefits. 




*&elfi 'fyK€n&e^^ 



Join ATVF today and get a one-year 
subscription to The Independent. 

□ $45/individual (in U.S. & P.R.) 

□ (Add $15 for 1st class mailing) 

□ $85/organization 

□ $60/library 

□ $25/student (enclose copy of 
student ID) 

□ $60/foreign 

□ (Add $18 for foreign air mail 
outside Canada & Mexico) 



Name 



Address 

City 

State 



Zip. 



Please send more information on: 



Country 

Telephone 

Enclosed is check or money order. 
Or, please bill my: □ Visa 

□ Mastercard 

ACCOUNT # 
EXPIRATION DATE 
SIGNATURE 

Charge by phone: (212) 473-3400. 



Five thousand members strong, 
the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers has been 
working for independent produe 
— providing information, fightin; 
for artists' rights, securing 
funding, negotiating discounts, 
and offering group insurance 
plans. Join our growing roster. 



MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES 

Individual membership 

10 issues of The Independent 

Access to all plans and discount 

Vote and run for office on board 

directors 

Free Motion Picture Enterprises 

Guide 

Listing in the ATVF Membership 

Directory 

Organizational membership 

All the benefits of individual 

membership 

PLUS: Special expanded listing ii 

the ATVF Membership Directory a 

a free copy 

Discounts on the ATVF mailing li 

Student membership 

10 issues of The Independent 
Free MPE Guide 

Listing in the student section of 
the ATVF Membership Directory 

Library/Institutional 
membership 

All the benefits of individual 

membership 

PLUS: Special notice of upcomin; 

publications 

Back issues of The Independent 



Conferences ■ Seminars 

AUTO-CENSORSHIP: The Chilling Effect After the 
Fact symposium: Sat., May 4 at the New School for 
Social Research. Cosponsored by Media Alliance, AIVF 
& New School. Artists, wiiters, curators, publishers, 
journalists, filmmakers encouraged to show & tell how 
they've been affected by or succumbed to censorship 
attempts. Contact: New School for Social Research, 
Media Studies Dept., 2 W. 13th St., New York, NY 
10011; (212) 627-9629. 

BOSTON FILM/VIDEO FOUNDATION workshops: 
Basic Video Prod., beg. Apr. 9; Writing & Selling for 
Film & TV, Apr. 13 & 14; Principles & Methods in 
Editing, various dates between Apr. 1 6 & May 28; Sync 
Sound Filmmaking in S-8, beg. Apr. 17; Intro to 3/4" 
Editing, beg. Apr. 20; Intro to Video Paint Systems, Apr. 
20; Screenwriter's Workshop: The Story Structure, Apr. 
20 & 27; Prod. Mgmt., May 18. Contact: BF/VF, 11 26 
Boylston St., Boston, MA 02215; (617) 536-1540. 

CENTER FOR NEW TV workshops: Basic Video Prod., 
beg. Apr. 1 & May 1; Advanced Video Prod., beg. Apr. 
6; Steadycam Workshop, Apr. 20; Getting Good 
Interviews on Videotape, Apr. 16; Producing a 
Documentary, beg. Apr. 8; Intro, to Videotape Editing, 
beg. Apr. 2 & May 14; Intermediate Editing, beg. Apr. 
8 & May 6; Grantwriting, May 11; Writing Comedy 
Sketches for TV, beg. Apr. 2. Contact: CNTV, 912 S. 
Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605; (312) 427-5446. 

DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY TV workshops: Free Basic 
TV Prod., every Thurs; Lighting Workshop, Apr. 1 & 8. 
Contact: DCTV, 87 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10013; 
(212)966-4510. 

FILM IN THE CITIES video weekend workshops: VHS 
Prod., Apr. 6 & 13; VHS Editing, Apr. 27 & 28. Contact: 
Film in the Cities, 2388 University Ave., St. Paul, MN 
55114. 

FILM/VIDEO ARTS spring workshops: Advanced 
Screenwriting, Apr. 3-May 8; Intro, to 3/4" Video Editing, 
May 4 & 5; Advanced 3/4" Editing. May 18 & 19; Am 
SR Workshop, May 4 & 5; Essentials of Prod. Insurance, 
Apr. 30; Intro, to Digital Effects, Apr. 15-May 20; Time 
Code Basics, Apr. 6; Intro, to Optical Printing, Apr. 13 
& 14. Contact: F/VA, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 
10003; (212) 673-9361. 

YELLOWSTONE MEDIA ARTS summer workshops: 
series of 1-week workshops, lectures, discussions, 
exercises & screenings, June 1 7-July 25. Incl. Cinema & 
Social Change in Latin America, Grant Writing, 
Advanced Cinematography, Capturing the Images of 
Sounds of Culture, From Manager to Mogul: The 
Business of Making Films, Scriptwriting, Documentary 
& Endangered Cultures. Reasonable course fees & 
accomodation costs. Contact: Paul Monaco, Dept. of 
Media & Theatre Arts, Montana State Univ., Bozeman, 
MT 59717; (406) 994-6224. 

Films ■ Tapes Wanted 

BROOKLYN MUSEUM seeks high quality 35mm & 
16mm films & single channel video for Fall 1991 series 
of works by & about Native Americans. Narrative, doc. 
& experimental work under 60 min. Should address 
Native Amer. art, history, culture, political activism. 
Deadline: Apr. 1 5. Send 3/4" or 1/2" tapes w/ SASE to: 
Dara Myers-Kingslcy, Film & Video. Brooklyn Museum, 
200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 1 1238. 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are 
included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit for 
length. Deadlines for Notices will be 
respected. These are the 8th of the month, 
two months prior to cover date, e.g., April 
8 for the June issue. Send to: Independent 
Notices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10012. 

DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY TV seeks tapes for 
screening series protesting 500 yrs of genocide & 
hardship, in anticipation of 1992 quincentennial of 
Spanish invasion of "New World." Topics incl. 
exploitation vs. self-determination, land rights, 
resistance, political activism, cultural expression & 
political prisoners. Material should generate discussion 
& analysis of effects of European/American conquest of 
indigenous peoples. Send tapes w/ SASE to: Simone 
Farkhondeh, DCTV, 87 Lafayette St., New York, NY 
10013; (212) 941-1298. 

15 MINUTES: Washington, DC, nightclub & film/video 
venue seeks 1/2", 3/4" & hi-8 tapes & 16mm films for 
Wed. night screenings. Narrative, doc, animation, video 
art & PSAs welcome. Special call for "video about 
things green & radical, hangouts, the street, our beloved 
banks & other rip-offs, general defiance & specific 
outrage." Fee of $10-25 for shorts; up to $100 for 
features. Club also seeks original ambient video. 
Contact:15 Minutes, Eric Gravley, 1030 15th St., NW, 
Washington, DC 20005; (202) 408-1855 or 667-5643. 

FUTURE ARTS: Media Arts in North Carolina, 2-day 
conference on film, video, & related arts to be held May, 
1991 at Duke University in Durham. Seeking works by 
NC artists &/or w/ NC themes. Rental fees paid. Contact: 
Tom Whiteside; (919) 684-4130. 

IV-TV, cablecast on Ch. 26 in Seattle. Video artists, 
students, amateurs & frustrated news camerapeople 
encouraged to submit mini-docs, video art, found footage, 
news leaks. Deadline: 1st of ea. month. 25 min. max. 
Send tapes w/ SASE to: IV-TV, 1125 N. 98th St., 
Seattle, W A 98103. 

NEW DAY FILMS, self-distribution coop for independent 
producers, seeks new members w/ recent social issue 
docs, for US nontheatrical markets. Deadline: Apr. 1. 
Contact: Ralph Arlyck, 79 Raymond Ave.. Poughkeepsie, 
NY 12601. 

TAPESTRY INTERNATIONAL, distributor of inde- 
pendently produced docs, drama, music. & performance, 
seeks new product to sell to foreign & domestic TV 
markets. Contact: Lisa Honig, Tapestry Int'l, 924 
Broadway, New York, NY 10010; (212) 667-6007: fax: 
(212)473-8164. 

THE '90s is accepting tapes for weekly program on n.u ' ! 



The Gulf War and Peace 
Alternative Media AcnvrriES 

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting: 
Information on mass media reporting; 
contact list of major news media outlets; 
175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010; 
212/633-6700 

Gulf Crisis TV Project: Produced two-hour 
television series; soliciting tapes and 
information for programming of 
alternative media on public TV and public 
cable, as well as to community groups; 
339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012; 
212/228-6370 

Labor Beat: Producing public access 
cable programs in Chicago; Bob Hercules, 
Larry Duncan; 312/850-1300 

Media Network: Clearinghouse for 
independent media on militarism; 121 
Fulton St, New York, NY 10038; 212/ 
619-3455 

Peacemakers: SANE/Freeze cable TV 
series on 20 systems in Southern 
California; John Owen, Box 521, Los 
Angeles, CA 90053: 213/223-2966 

Paper Tiger TV West: Producer of weekly- 
updates on anti-war activism in the Bay 
Area on public access cable; Jesse Drew, 
2690 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110; 
415/558-0200 




For almost ten years. Standby has 
been providing artists and 
independent producers access to 
some of New York City's finest 
postproduction facilities. 

Services range from small format 
to one-inch editing, digital effects, 
film to tape, paint box, archival 
transfers, publications, and video 
and graphics seminars. 

For more information call: 

219-0951 
The Standby Program 



APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 43 



at P.A.CX. Studios 

We Strive to put State-of-the-Art 
Media Technology in your hands 

@ ROCK BOTTOM PRICES 

42' x 22' Recording Area: 

* Multi-Camera Recording 

* 3/4" Sony 9800-9850 SP 
Machines with R.M 450 

* 9^33 for Digital Effects - 
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* D.P.S. 275 T.B.C. 

* Peevy Stereo Audio Mixer 

* Regular & Super VHS Recorders 

AND MUCH MCCE 

P.A.OX. Studio # 305 

270 Lafayette Street, NYC 10012 
(At the Corner of Prince St.) 

ONE BLOCK FROM: 
TRAINS: N,R,F,B,D,Q, & 6 
TEL: (212) 274 0062 



3 /4" VIDEO 8c POST PRODUCTION 




Computerized 
$40. Edit System 

Eagle 2 w/DOS, Printer & 
w/Editor CMX compatable disk. 

Address Track Timecode, TBC, 
Freezes, Switcher w/GPI, Hi-res. 
Character Gen. (JO fonts), Fairlight 
Dig. Effects. 



$60. A/B Roll w/all the above 



$20. Do-it-yourself with RM440 
& Fade to Black (3/4 to 
3/4 & VHS - 3/4) 

$30. with Editor - Cuts only 



Striping - Window Dubs - Copies 
3/4 Location Package with 
IKegami 730, S-VHS Camcorder 



TEL: (212) 219-9240 



PBS. Works should be under 1 Omin.& submitted on hi- 
8 or 3/4". If return of tape desired, incl. SASE or $3 
postage. Fee: $125/min. for tapes aired. Contact: The 
'90s, 400 N. Michigan Ave., #1 608, Chicago, IL 606 1 1 . 

Opportunites ■ Gigs 

FILM/VIDEO ARTS seeks interns for min. 6-month 
commitment. Interns receive free media classes, access 
to equipment, facilities in exchange for 1 5 hrs/wk work. 
Film/video knowledge helpful but not required. 
Minorities strongly encouraged to apply. Appls accepted 
at all times. Contact: Angie Cohn, intern coordinator, F/ 
VA, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003-4797; (212) 
673-9361. 

INSTRUCTORS/VIDEOGRAPHERS:Summerpositions 

w/ Legacy Int'l to train youths, ages 14-18. Duties incl. 
instruction in video prod. & media, some program 
documentation. Located 4 hrs. SW of Washington, DC. 
June 17- Aug. 22. Contact: Marlene, Legacy Int'l, Rte. 4, 
Bedford, VA 24523; (703) 294-5982. 

MEDIA NETWORK, nat'l media advocacy org. that 
promotes social issue media, seeks membership/outreach 
coordinator & director of information services. Contact: 
Media Network, 121 Fulton St., 5th fl., New York, NY 
10038; (212) 619-3455. 

RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS: Indo-US Subcommission 
on Educ. & Culture offers long & short-term awards in 
all academic disciplines for 1992-93 research in India. 
Scholars & professionals w/limited or no prior experience 
in India especially encouraged to apply. Deadline: June 
1 5 . Fulbright Scholar Program for 1 992-93 offers grants 
, for research, combined research & lecturing, or university 
lecturing. Deadline for Australia, South Asia, most of 
Latin America & USSR: June 15. Deadline for Africa. 
Asia, Europe, Middle East, Canada & lecturing awards 
in Caribbean, Mexico & Venezuela: Aug. 1. Contact: 
Council for Int'l Exchange of Scholars, 3007 Tilden St.. 
NW, Ste. 5M. Box NEWS, Washington, DC 20008- 
3009; (202) 686-7877. 

Publications 

NAMAC MAIN TRAVEL SHEET lists alternative & ind. 
media arts works & provides forum for exchanging 
long-range programming ideas. Subscription now a 
benefit of membership in Nat'l Alliance of Media Arts 
Centers. Contact at new address: MAIN Travel Sheet. 
NAMAC, 480 Potrero Ave., San Francisco, CA 941 10; 
(415)861-0202. 

SAFE PLANET: The Guide to Environmental Film & 
Video published by Media Network, now avail. Price: 
Grassroots groups & individuals, $7.50; institutions. 
$ 1 1 .50. Postage & handling $2. Contact: Media Network. 
121 Fulton St., 5th fl., New York, NY 10038; (212) 619- 
3455. 

THREE DECADES OF TELEVISION: Catalog of 
Television Programs Acquired by the Library of Congress 
1949-1979 lists over 14,000 programs acquired by 
world's largest film & TV archive. $5 1 prepaid. Contact: 
Dept. 36-GH, Superintendent of Documents, Washing- 
ton, D.C. 20402-9325. Stocknumberis 030-000-001 85 1 . 

WAR OR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Third World 
Resources provides educators, political activists & 
concerned citizens w/ background to understandt crisis 
in Persian Gulf & take action. Middle East: A Directory 
of Resources, $14.45; Third World Struggle for Peace 
with Justice, $14.45. Other resources avail. Contact: 



Third World Resources, 464 19th St., Oakland, CA 
94612-9761; (415) 835-4692; fax: (415) 835-3017. 

Resources ■ Funds 

CPB TELEVISION PROGRAM FUND announces 
multicultural programming solicitation for development 
& production of 58 min. programs for nat'l public TV 
broadcast. Proposals may be submitted in 3 areas: 
children's & educational, news & public affairs, and 
drama. Producer & director must be minorities. 
Deadlines: April 15 & August 15. For guidelines, contact: 
Multicultural Programming Solication, TV Program 
Fund, CPB, 901 E Street, NW, Washington DC 20004- 
2006; (202) 879-9600. 

DCTV COMMUNITY PROJECTS provides members w/ 
free or low-cost equipment for projects that positively 
impact communities by raising awareness of unexplored 
issues, opening new areas of artistic expression, 
increasing artists' visibility, or involving people in 
videomaking process. Deadlines ongoing. Contact: 
Community Projects, DCTV, 87 Lafayette St., New 
York, NY 10013; (212) 966-4510. 

ELECTRONIC ARTS INTERMIX: New Equipment Loan 
Service provides high-quality video equipment for long- 
term, low cost rentals to artists & nonprofits for use in 
public video exhibitions & installations. Contact: EAI. 
536 Broadway, 9th fl.. New York, NY 10012; (212) 
966-4605; fax: (212) 941-6118. 

EXPERIMENTAL TV CENTER Residency Program 
offers artists opportunity to study techniques of video 
image processing during a 5-day intensive residency. 
Deadline: July 15. Also provides Presentation Funds of 
small grants to nonprofits to assist w/ presentation of 
works of audio, video & related electronic art. Deadline 
ongoing. Contact: ETC, 180 Front St., Owego, NY 
13827; (607) 687-1423. 

FILM/VIDEO ARTS accepting appls for 3 residencies in 
optical printing during summer 1991. Residencies 
provide 6 days access to JK Optical Printer & 1 day film 
testing 2 wks prior to residency. Applicants should have 
previous exp. w/ optical printer & have completed F/ 
VA's optical printing workshop. Deadline: May 1. For 
more info. & appl. procedure, contact: Artist service 
coord., (212)673-9361. 

LYN BLUMENTHAL MEMORIAL FUND for Inde- 
pendent Video will fund video production & criticism 
that addresses theme of The Unlegislated Body. Fund 
encourages video projects that make inventive & strategic 
use of small format technologies. Grants range from 
$l,000-$3,000. Deadline: May 15. For appl., write: Lyn 
Blumenthal Memorial Fund, Box 3514, Church St. 
Station, New York, NY 10007. 

MERCANTILE LIBRARY WRITERS STUDIO provides 
quiet workspace for writers. Open 45 hrs/wk. Price: 
$300 for 3-month residency, w/ renewal up to 1 yr. 
Contact: Mercantile Library Writers Studio, 17 E. 47th 
St., New York, NY; (212) 755-6710. 

MICHIGAN COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS: Creative Artist 
Grant Program deadline: Apr. 5. Contact: Michigan 
Council for the Arts, 1200 Sixth St., Detroit, MI 48226; 
(313)256-3719. 

NATIVE AMERICAN PROGRAM GRANTS: Native 
American Public Broadcasting Consortium announces 
open solicitation of proposals for development & 
production of Native American programs for nat ' 1 public 
TV. Seeks projects that originate w/ Native American 



44 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



experience. Grants range from $5-50,000 for R&D, 
script development, prod. &/or postprod. Genres incl. 
drama, performance, doc, public affairs & animation. 
Deadline: Apr. 1. Contact: 1991 Native American 
Program Grants, NAPBC, Box 83111, Lincoln, NE 
68501-6869. 

PENNSYLVANIA COUNCIL ON THE ARTS provides 
grants for prod, projects of PA artists through nonprofit 
fiscal sponsors. Deadline: Apr. 1 . Contact: PCA, Finance 
Bldg.,Rm.216,Harrisburg,PA 17120; (717) 787-6883. 

PIVFA SUBSIDY PROGRAM to facilitate completion of 
ind., noncommercial projects by members of PA 
Independent Film/Video Assoc. Grants range $500 to 
$1000. Deadlines: April 12, June 12. For complete 
guidelines & form, call (215) 895-6594. 

PROPOSED VIDEO GRANT: San Francisco Artspace 
offers artists access to video hi-8 equipment & audio 
facilities. Artists may request ass't for full project or 
only postprod. needs. Nonresidents of greater Bay Area 
eligible for travel & per diem honoraria of up to $2,000. 
Grants awarded to artists & ind. producers living 
anywhere for noncommercial videos in experimental, 
narrative, editorial/nonfiction & doc. Deadlines: May 1 
& Sept. 15. Contact: San Francisco Artspace, 1286 
Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 626-9100; 
fax:(415)431-6612. 

WYATT SCHOLARSHIP FUND: Film/Video Arts offers 
full 1 -yr scholarships through Eugene Wyatt Scholarship 
Fund to minority students. Film & video courses incl. 
prod., mgmt., writing, etc. Deadline: May 15. Also, 
three 6-day residencies in Optical Printing Room avail. 
Deadline: May 1. Contact: F/VA, 817 Broadway, New 
York, NY 10003; (212) 673-9361. 



AIVF REGIONAL 
CORRESPONDENTS 

AIVF has a network of regional correspon- 
dents who can provide membership informa- 
tion, hold meetings, and aid recruitment in 
areas of the country outside New York City. 
AIVF members are urged to contact them 
about AIVF-related needs and problems, your 
activities, and other relevant information and 
news: 

Howard Aaron, Northwest Film and Video 
Ctr.,1219S.W.Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205; 
(503)221-1156 

Cheryl Chisolm, 2844 Engle Road, NW, 
Atlanta, GA 30318; (404) 792-2167 

Dee Davis, Appalshop, 306 Whitesburg, 
KY 41858; (606) 633-0108 

Loni Ding, 2335 Jones St., San Francisco, 
C A 94133; (415) 474-5132; 673-6428 

Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, 1752 17th St., NW, 
Washington, DC 20009; (202) 232-6912 

Deanna Morse, School of Communica- 
tion, Grand Valley State Univ., Allendale, MI 
49401; (616) 895-3101 

Lourdes Portillo, 981 Esmeralda St., San 
Francisco, CA 941 10; (415) 824-5850 

Bart Weiss, 1611 Rio Vista Dr., Dallas, 
TX 75208; (214)948-7300 



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APRIL 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 45 



ANAIVF/CPB EXCHANGE 



The following exchange of letters bePA'een AIVF 
president, chair of our Advocacy Committee, and 
independent producer Robert Richter and the vice 
president for programming at the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting, Eugene Katt, is reproduced 
here to keep our members abreast of AIVF' s 
efforts to monitor and call attention to the erosion 
ofCPB's support for independent production. 

November 1, 1990 

Dear Mr. Ledwig, 

The AIVF has become aware of disturbing reports 
that CPB is considering cutting back or abandon- 
ing the $6 million Open Solicitation part of the 
Program Fund. 

As you know, we have great concern that so 
much of the Program Fund has come to be ear- 
marked for specific series and now — with public 
TV's reorganization — reallocated to PBS. It has 
become increasingly difficult for independents to 
have direct access to the substantial share of the 
national production funds that Congress man- 
dated for independent production. 

Moreover, the elimination of the current Open 
Solicitation structure threatens to eliminate the 
use of panels as they are generally understood in 
the selection of program proposals. The use of 
panels to review proposals "wherever practicable" 
is still a requirement in CPB's authorizing legis- 
lation. The occasional use of nominators, consult- 
ants, or post hoc series review panels is no substi- 
tute for the traditional panel process that Congress 
intended CPB to use since the creation of the 
Program Fund in 1980. 

Based on the long history of independents 
being consistently and increasingly squeezed out 
of the funding that is clearly supposed to go to 
them, we are skeptical about vague assurances 
that independents will receive a substantial share 
of program funds in the future. 

The ITVS helps redress our situation to some 
extent, but Congress explicitly cautioned that the 
creation of ITVS does not "exhaust the CPB's 
statutory obligation to provide a substantial por- 
tion of its programming fund to independent 
producers and productions," and that public broad- 
casting should "increase utilization of indepen- 
dent producers or independent productions 
throughout the structure of public broadcasting." 
We cannot sit by idly while the shrinking base of 
funding we have had through the Open Solicita- 
tion structure is threatened with extinction. 

Program Fund director Don Marbury is quoted 
in The Independent (October 1990) as justifying 
the elimination of the existing structure due to 



limited funding for the process and because so 
many excellent proposals are now excluded. Rather 
than curtail or eliminate Open Solicitation, we 
strongly urge that CPB increase its commitment 
to this excellent and effective funding process as 
part of its responsibility to support the develop- 
ment of innovative new programming not funded 
through the existing major series, now handled by 
PBS. 

We recognize that the restructuring of public 
broadcasting has altered the environment in which 
the Open Solicitation process operates. We would 
welcome an opportunity to meet with you, Don 
Marbury, and any other appropriate CPB and/or 
PBS officials to clarify the status of the funding of 
independently produced programs outside the 
context of ITVS and to develop or retain struc- 
tures that will enable smaller independent film 
and videomakers to compete fairly for public 
broadcasting program funds throughout all of 
public television's program funding structures. 

— Robert Richter 

president, Association of Independent Video 

and Filmmakers 

November 15, 1990 

Dear Mr. Richter, 

Donald Ledwig asked that I respond to your letter 
of November 1, 1990, regarding the elimination 
of the Open Solicitation process within CPB's 
Television Program Fund. 

Let me begin by stating, emphatically, that 
CPB has no intention of reducing its commitment 
to independent producers, or eliminating the advice 
of panels of experts in the decision-making proc- 
esses. CPB is well aware of its legislative require- 
ments. Having said that, let me remind you that 
the restructuring of public broadcasting is also the 
result of congressional directives. 

The National Program Plan under which we 
began operating on October 1 of this year [1990] 
was formulated with input from all segments of 
the public broadcasting community, including 
independent producers. The National Program 
Policy Committee that will govern PBS in its 
expenditure of nearly $100 million in program 
production funds is broadly representative, and 
includes independent producers. Finally, our 
decision to redesign the proposal solicitation 
process is designed to stimulate increased inde- 
pendent production and to help independent pro- 
ducers focus on the needs of the public television 
system. 

The Open Solicitation, while a serviceable 
mechanism over the last seven years, will be 
phased out after decisions are made in the current 



round. A number of new vehicles are being de- 
signed which we believe will better serve the 
system and the producing community. 

Following is a brief overview of new and 
existing funding mechanisms proposed for the 
coming year. 

As many as four "content-specific solicita- 
tions" during the year will replace the Open rounds. 
These content-specific rounds will: offer a great 
deal of flexibility; more strongly ensure that proj- 
ects supported by CPB will be scheduled in high- 
profile slots by PBS; increase carriage by local 
stations; and, ultimately, better serve the Ameri- 
can viewing public. 

Content-specific solicitations may be broadly 
or narrowly defined, and could range from one- 
hour documentaries on a particular theme, to 
mini-series concepts that might, for instance, bring 
the history of Latino contributions to the culture 
and sociology of America. The first such solicita- 
tion is already planned. 

The Television Program Fund will solicit script- 
ing proposals for development of a dramatic mini- 
series that is contemporary, distinctive in style, 
and reflective of the cultural diversity of the 
country. Up to five writers will be selected ini- 
tially. A panel will subsequently be asked to 
recommend up to three pilot scripts for production 
funding. Should one of the pilots emerge as stel- 
lar, full production funding would be awarded. 

Future content-specific solicitations will in- 
clude a search for a multi-million dollar daily 
series for children. 

Given that increased emphasis on multi-cultu- 
ralism is a high priority for CPB in the nineties, a 
major initiative in FY 1991 will be the creation of 
two minority program solicitations. In addition. 
$1 million has already been allocated to the mi- 
nority consortia for various and development 
production activities. 

The Television Program Fund has always re- 
ceived unsolicited proposals. In recent years, funds 
have not been allocated for them and, in most 
cases, producers were instructed to submit through 
Open Solicitation. The Program Fund will for- 
malize the existing ad hoc process under the 
banner of "General Program Review." Guidelines 
have been drafted and producers will soon be 
notified that, on a quarterly basis, a slate of target- 
of-opportunity ideas with potential for the na- 
tional PBS schedule will be reviewed by staff and 
evaluated by outside readers, with funding recom- 
mendations made to the director. One million 
dollars has been earmarked this year for this 
mechanism that offers the opportunity for produc- 
ers with projects of excellence, that do not fit a 



46 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1991 



content-specific solicitation, to compete for funds 
on an on-going basis. 

The $10 million CPB/PBS Challenge Fund 
will continue to allow independent producers and 
stations to seek funding for major productions. 
Proposals can be submitted at any time during the 
fiscal year; guidelines are available from CPB or 
PBS; and a panel of experts is called upon to 
review those proposed by CPB and PBS for sup- 
port. A recent Challenge Fund award for a project 
titled The 90s will bring to American viewers a 
series of 13 hour-long programs composed of 
short edited pieces from the independent produc- 
ing community. The programs will showcase al- 
ternative programming — from underground docu- 
mentary footage to the most sophisticated anima- 
tion. 

As you know, CPB has always insisted that 
independent production be an integral part of the 
major program strands it funded. Though funding 
and monitoring of those series now rests with 
PBS, the responsibility for inclusion of indepen- 
dent production is no less real. 

The Corporation has also continued to support 
a number of other series in which independent 
production is featured prominently: POV; Alive 
From Off Center, American Masters; and, most 
recently, American Pie. 

In addition to direct production funding, sup- 
port for the minority consortia continues. With the 
aforementioned $ 1 million increase in support of 
their operations, the National Black Program- 
ming Consortium, National Asian American 
Telecommunications Association, Native Ameri- 
can Public Broadcasting Consortium, and the 
Latino Communications Center have also be- 
come significant funders of independent and sta- 
tion concepts that have potential for the PBS 
national schedule. In addition to soliciting pro- 
posals directly from their indigenous producing 
communities, the consortia are beginning to work 
with many PBS series executive producers. 

The 1990s loom as a decade of change. Col- 
laboration and coordination, coproduction and 
cofinancing are all vital to the success of public 
television in the years ahead. Formerly disparate 
subsets of the system are now embracing this 
attitude. In the final analysis, programming deci- 
sions must continue to focus on excellence. 

CPB is charged with leading the system into the 
1990s by supporting new program development. 
We believe that the processes and procedures 
outlined above ensure this leadership role, and 
will generate increased opportunities for indepen- 
dents and stations alike to submit their best ideas 
for bringing to American viewers, programs of 
high quality, diversity and excellence as origi- 
nally envisioned in the Public Telecommunica- 
tions Act. 

We will soon be notifying the producing com- 
munity of these new initiatives. In the meantime, 
I welcome your comments. 

— Eugene W. Katt 

vice president, programming. Corporation 

for Public Broadcasting 



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Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
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PetCap Press 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



The Independent is published 10 times yearly by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 
625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212) 
473-3400, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational 
foundation dedicated to the promotion of video and film, 
and by the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals involved in 
independent video and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and professional services for 
independents and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with public funds 
from the New York State Council on the Arts and the 
National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited manu- 
scripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned unless a 
stamped, self-addressed envelope is included. No 
responsibility is assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to 
the editor. Letters may be edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, Inc. Reprints require written 
permission and acknowledgement of the article's 
previous appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. The Independent is indexed in the 
Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 1991 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Kathryn Bowser, acting 
executive director, festival bureau director; Martha Gever, 
interim advocacy director; Mary Jane Skalski, 
membership/programming director; Morton Marks, 
audio/business manager; Stephanie Richardson, 
administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Eugene 
Aleinikoff,* SkipBlumberg (vice president), Christine Choy, 
Dee Davis (secretary), Loni Ding, Lisa Frigand,* Adrianne 
B. Furniss,*Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (chair), Jim Klein, Regge 
Life,* Tom Luddy,* Lourdes Portillo, Robert Richter 
(president), Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage,* 
Jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, Debra Zimmerman (treasurer). 

* FIVF Board of Directors only 

MAY 1991 




13 




25 







COVER: An activist protests the Catholic 
Church's position on condom use and 
reproductive rights at a "die-in" at Saint 
Patricks Cathedral in New York City, 
documented by the camcorder-wielding 
Damned Interfering Video Activist 
Television (DIVA TV) crew. Photo from 
Like a Prayer, 1991. 



FEATURES 

20 The Ethics of Community Media 

by Frances Negron-Muntaner 

22 What to Wear on Your Video Activist Outing (Because the 
Whole World Is Watching): A Camcordist's Manifesto 

by Ellen Spiro 

25 Hi-8 — High Powered, Low Priced 

by Larry Loewinger 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

State Funding Fiasco: NY's Cuomo Singles Out Arts 
for 56 Percent Cut 

by Quynh Thai 

NBC Nixes Freelance Footage from Iraq 

by Patricia Thomson 

Bye-Bye American Pie 

by Scott Barrett 

NY IATSE Woos Low-Budget Producers 

Leo Hurwitz: 1909-1991 

by Tod Lippy 

Sequels 

13 FIELD REPORTS 

Close Encuentro of a First Kind: 
The Cruzando Fronteras Conference 

by Rosa Linda Fregoso 

17 IN FOCUS 

Strike Up the Band: Live Musicians at Affordable Prices 

by Michael Sahl 

28 TALKING HEADS 

Between Irony and Empathy: 
Peter Rose's New Video Installation 

by Regula Pickel 

32 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

34 FESTIVALS 

by Kathryn Bowser 

36 CLASSIFIEDS 
38 NOTICES 

41 PROGRAM NOTES 

FIVF Distribution Books 

by Kathryn Bowser 

42 MEMORANDA 

Minutes of the ArVF/FIVF Board of Directors Meeting 



MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 3 



STATE FUNDING FIASCO 

NY's Cuomo Singles Out Arts Budget for 56 Percent Cut 

I I 



INI ew York State is 
not alone in this 
fiscal nightmare. 
Virginia's arts 
budget has been 
reduced by 80 
percent, Ohio is 
facing a proposed 
60 percent cut, and 
Massachusetts is 
expecting its arts 
budget to be 
slashed by two- 
thirds this coming 
year. 



Still reeling from the shock of last year's 15 
percent budget cut, the New York State Council 
on the Arts (NYSCA) was dealt its most severe 
blow yet by Governor Mario Cuomo. In his ex- 
ecutive budget proposal for fiscal year 1991-92, 
announced on January 29, Cuomo slashed his 
recommended appropriation for the arts agency 
by a staggering 56 percent. The cut would reduce 
NYSCA's total budget to only $22.3-million, 
down from last year's $50.6-million — the lowest 
level in NYSCA's history since 1973. By com- 
parison, last year NYSCA awarded $25-million to 
artists and organizations in New York City alone. 
Arts advocates lobbying Albany for restoration of 
N YSCA' s funding are facing difficult odds, given 
the state's gaping $6- to $7-billion deficit. 

New York State is not alone in this fiscal 
nightmare. According to Jeffrey Love, director of 
research at the National Assembly of State Arts 
Agencies (NASAA), some state arts agencies are 
being scaled back to an even greater degree. 
Virginia's arts budget has been reduced by 80 
percent, Ohio is facing a proposed 60 percent cut, 
and Massachusetts is expecting its $12.6-million 
budget to be slashed by two-thirds, to $4.5-million, 
this coming year. In 1988, the Massachusetts arts 
council's budget was $21-million. Says Love, 
"This is all part of what seems to be a downward 
trend all along the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic 
states." Total appropriations to state arts agencies 
fell in 1 990 for the first time in 1 3 years, according 
to NASAA. And signs indicate the trend will 
steepen. 

"People are very rattled and unnerved around 
here," says NYSCA Electronic Media and Film 
(EMF) program director B. Ruby Rich. Even 
now, after last year's 1 5 percent cut, program staff 
has found itself hamstrung. A hiring freeze is in 
effect, the numbers of panelists reduced, and the 
staff travel budget measurably curtailed. "We've 
lost 20 percent of our staff," says EMF program 
associate Deborah Silverfine. "We've been 
grounded since October. We can't even ask for 
tokens to travel around the city." In addition, she 
notes, certain programs have already been "cut to 
the bare bones," including preservation support 
and library acquisitions of films. Although Rich 
does not think the council would zero the Individual 
Artists Program, which administers film and video 
production grants — a commonly expressed fear 
among producers — she projects that NYSCA could 
easily lose its edge as a pioneer funder in film, 
media, and other arts. 



Diane Martuscello, executive director of the 
statewide arts lobbying organization, the New 
York State Arts and Cultural Coalition 
(NYSACC), paints an even bleaker worst-case 
picture. "For the last two years, the Business 
Council of New York State has proposed putting 
NYSCA functions under the Department of 
Economic Development," she states. This means 
that "peer panel reviews might be replaced by 
formula funding and considerations of quality 
might have different value. In other words, all 
artistic judgements based on expert opinions might 
go by the boards." The end result, predicts 
Martuscello, is that the arts agency "would no 
longer exist as we know it." 

But even if this scenario isn't realized, Cuomo's 
budget still leaves NYSCA in a stranglehold. By 
law, the agency must devote half its budget to 
designated "primary institutions" — including such 
major organizations as the Metropolitan Museum 
of Art and the American Museum of the Moving 
Image, as well as the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film. NYSCA is also required to al- 
locate at least $ .55 per capita to each county, 
which accounts for an additional $1 1 -million. If 
NYSCA is allocated only $22.3-million, as Cuomo 
recommends, this leaves a meager $150,000 for 
grants that don't satisfy either requirement. 

Arts advocates across the state are trying to 
make sure this doesn't happen. "We are willing 
to take cuts like everyone else, but not this much; 
56 percent is highly inequitable," declares Mar- 
tuscello. Under the governor' s proposal, NYSCA 
is one of only two state agencies targeted for such 
drastic cuts. Related services, such as the State 
University system and the Parks and Recreation 
Department, are slated for reductions of two to 20 
percent. NYSACC is trying to persuade state 
legislators to bring NYSCA's cuts in line with 
other areas — 10 to 15 percent, rather than 56. The 
legislature is due to pass a revised state budget by 
the beginning of its fiscal year on April 1 . How- 
ever, the process may drag on through May, as it 
has in past years. 

Many are frustrated by the lack of economic 
logic behind Cuomo's measures. Jeffrey Binder, 
press secretary to Roy Goodman, Republican 
State Senator from Manhattan and chair of the 
Senate Special Committee on the Arts and Cultural 
Affairs, points out that the arts generate $7-billion 
in yearly state revenues. Every dollar spent on the 
arts earns the state $4 to $5 more. "[We're] not 
throwing money down a sink hole here. The arts 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



1989-1990 

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The Big Dis 

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84 Charlie Mopic* 

by Patrick Duncan 
New Century Vista, distributor 

For All Mankind 

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Circle Releasing, distributor 

From Hollywood 
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Island Pictures, distributor 

The Imported 
Bridegroom 

by Pamela Berger 

ASA Communications, 

distributor 

Metropolitan* 

byWhitStillman 
New Line Cinema, distributor 

Nobody Listened 

by Nestor Almendros 

and Jorge Ulla 

Direct Cinema, distributor 

Roger & Me 

by Michael Moore 
Warner Brothers, distributor 

Severance 

by David Steinberg 
Fox/Lorber Associates Inc., distributor 

The Suitors 

by Ghasem Ebrahimian 
First Run Features, distributor 

Thelonious Monk 

by Charlotte Zwerin 
Warner Brothers, distributor 

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New Yorker Films, distributor 



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make money through the jobs generated and the 
revenue from tourist-related services," he insists. 
Using both economic and social arguments, 
arts advocates, under the leadership of NYSACC, 
have been working the halls of Albany every 
Tuesday since the executive budget was released, 
as well as testifying before committees, writing 
representatives, and trying to get media coverage. 
Although this has been the Alliance's most suc- 
cessful mobilizing effort yet, Martuscello warns 
that, given the size of the proposed cutbacks, 
lobbying is not enough. "We have to be very 
realistic about this issue," she says. "The shroud 
over this arts budget is a $6-billion dollar deficit, 
and the question is, can we get the State to approve 
tax hikes?" 

QUYNH THAI 

Quynh Thai is an independent producer and 
freelance writer. 

NBC NIXES FREELANCE 
FOOTAGE FROM IRAQ. 

Three weeks into the Gulf War, there was another 
US television journalist in Iraq besides CNN's 
Peter Arnett, although no one would have known 
it from the footage aired on the evening news. On 
February 2, freelance video journalist and 
Downtown Community TV cofounder Jon Alpert 
crossed the border into Iraq, together with 
coproducer Maryann DeLeo and former US At- 
torney General Ramsey Clark, who was on an 
independent fact-finding mission. Alpert and 
DeLeo spent the next week in Baghdad, Negif, 
and points in between. They shot scenes of dev- 
astation along the highways and in the boarded up 
cities and taped interviews with shell-shocked 
citizens, often without any form of censorship or 
official supervision. But their exclusive footage 
never made it onto the NBC Nightly News, as had 
been agreed. Following a bitter fight within the 
network, NBC News president Michael Gartner 
squelched the material, sight unseen, and termi- 
nated NBC's 12-year relationship with Alpert. 

Alpert recalls his brief and final conversation 
with the NBC news chief: "Michael Gartner said 
he'd had enough of our reporting, that whenever 
we went to a third world country there was always 
trouble that came after that. He was tired of it, he 
didn't trust us, and he didn't like that we were 
travelling with the Ramsey Clarks of this world." 

Complaints about Alpert's reports on the To- 
day Show and NBC Nightly News have kept NB C ' s 
legal department busy in the past. However, most 
came from the same source: the right-wing media 
watchdog group Accuracy in Media. AIM's head, 
Reed Irvine, regularly made unfounded accusa- 
tions about staging, endangered sources, and other 
matters, which the network would just as regularly 
investigate and refute. One time, however, Alpert 
slipped. When the Soviets pulled out of Af- 
ghanistan, he filmed a reenactment of the US 
Ambassador lowering the flag over the Kabul 
embassy — a choice he now regrets. 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



On the issue of gaining entry to Iraq through 
war opponent Ramsey Clark, Alpert says, "I didn ' t 
know Ramsey Clark is as controversial a person as 
he seems to be in the United States. But I know 
that we can divorce ourselves from whatever 
philosophy he might have. And it was clear to 
NBC people who saw our tape that this was an 
objective and independent report that wasn't 
colored by association with anyone." 

What Alpert and DeLeo videotaped, and NBC 
refused, was some of the only US footage not 
subject to the constraints of pool coverage and 
security review, having been shot in areas outside 
US military control. In the unescorted 10-hour 
drive to Baghdad, they taped rows of smoldering 
trucks, blackened gas stations, and other targets. 
In the city, they found their four-star hotel virtu- 
ally vacant, sand-bagged, and operating by 
candlelight. Alpert and DeLeo recorded interviews 
at a bombed fish market and visited the disputed 
baby milk factory. While skeptically questioning 
the factory's barbed wire fence and camouflage, 
Alpert notes in his narration that the French con- 
struction company responsible for the plant con- 
firmed its intended use as a baby milk factory. 
Also shown are the results of a presumably inac- 
curate bombing raid: a bridge stands intact, while 
nearby a Pepsi plant and residential neighborhood 
have been reduced to rubble. We also see the 
victims of this bombing raid, including a hospi- 
talized grandfather whose facial features are en- 
tirely burned off. 

Given the popularity of the war and the public ' s 
hostility toward the press, NBC's Gartner may not 
have wanted to air footage that humanizes the 
Iraqis to such a degree, possibly fearing attacks of 
sympathizing with the enemy, such as CNN and 
Amett endured. In addition, as Alpert points out, 
the fact that NBC was not in the lead in its war 
coverage might have played a part. Because of 
this, "everyone was defensive and sensitive," says 
Alpert. "There are different ways to react. One is 
to get good and unusual material. This is the way 
the people in the trenches reacted — Steve 
Friedman, Tom Brokaw, and Tom Capra. The 
other way is defensive — 'We don't want any 
more problems or controversy.'" 

Alpert's footage was finally broadcast on 
WNET-New York's local program 13 Live and on 
MTV, which had been airing war reports produced 
by the independent production company Global- 
vision. Still, the material did not air quickly. "It 
was on after the war over, basically," says Alpert. 

This is not what Alpert is used to. Rather, his 
reputation has been made largely by being on the 
frontline — and the news — first. He and coproducer 
Keiko Tsuno were the first US news team to tape 
inside Cuba after the revolution. They were the 
first to get into Vietnam afterthe fall of Saigon and 
the first to report from inside Afghanistan after the 
Soviet invasion. They talked their way into Iran 
after all other Western journalists had been forced 
out. And Alpert filmed the Sandinista' s triumphal 
procession in 1979 while seated in the second car 
in the motorcade. 

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Such journalistic scoops endeared him to net- 
work news chiefs in the past. Now this era is over. 
Alpert glumly concludes, "I'm just extremely 
disappointed that [the Iraq footage] wasn't broad- 
cast without the nay-sayers even taking a look at 
the tape." 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

BYE-BYE AMERICAN PIE 

Independent producers are finding that the diffi- 
cult business of getting work included in a public 
television series has become even more difficult 
this year. As the Public Broadcasting Service 
moves into a new era — one in which a single 
executive controls the national program schedule, 
rather than individual stations — series that ac- 
quire independent work are now facing a much 
more competitive climate for airtime. And fund- 
ing for independent productions continues to be a 
problem, particularly as the Open Solicitations 
category within the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting ' s Television Program Fund has been 
phased out and replaced by calls for project pro- 
posals dealing with specific themes [see "The 
Incredible Shrinking Fund: The CPB Program 
Fund's Open Solicitation," October 1990]. 

According to Melinda Ward, director of the 
Drama, Performance, and Cultural Programming 
department at PBS, cuts in corporate and govern- 
ment funding "mean people are going to have to 
get entrepreneurial and smart about how they 
produce." Entrepreneurial, as Ward and others 
refer to it, means financing a production through 
domestic and foreign sales to a variety of outlets, 
including cable and home video. This strategy is 
beginning to pertain to series producers as much 
as to independents. 

The primetime magazine series Edge, due to 
premiere this fall, is an example of the new think- 
ing. Edge is coproduced by the BBC and WNET- 
TV, New York. According to US-based executive 
producer Steven Weinstock, the rationale behind 
the BBC/WNET deal was initially based more on 
the show's content than economics. Each hour- 
long episode consists of a number of shorter 
pieces on US culture. Weinstock and London- 



based executive producer Michael Hall believe 
the series would benefit from separate and distinct 
influences from either side of the Atlantic. There 
will be three producers working in New York and 
three in London. Weinstock says that toward the 
end of Edge's first season he hopes to commission 
independent productions for the program. But 
before that happens, he notes, the series needs to 
find its on-screen identity through the use of 
pieces created by the show's in-house producers. 

Content aside, economics was an equally strong 
reason for the coproduction structure of Edge. 
Weinstock says that its $3.5-million budget is 
beyond WNET's reach without the BBC's eco- 
nomic input. BBC will contribute approximately 
$650,000 of that total, with PBS putting up $1.9- 
million. Weinstock says the remainder of the 
budget will come from grants. 

In other cases series producers are playing a 
role in helping independents find financing through 
sales to ancillary markets. At Long Ago and Far 
Away, a family series produced by WGBH-Bos- 
ton that is based on classic children's literature, 
producer Sandy Cohen says that production part- 
nerships with the individual producers of its epi- 
sodes have enabled her to stretch the limited funds 
she received for the third year of the series. Because 
of cutbacks. Long Ago has shrunk from 16 epi- 
sodes in the first season, to nine in the second, and 
six this year. "I am up front with the independent 
producers we deal with," says Cohen. "We've 
changed from an acquisition series into a 
coproduction series because our funding is lim- 
ited." To supplement production financing, Cohen 
steers producers to foreign home video and tele- 
vision buyers. Without these measures, the series 
might not have even stretched to six episodes this 
year. 

One series that hasn't fared so well is American 
Pie, a production of KTCA-TV in Minneapolis/ 
St. Paul. After only one season, American Pie's 
funding from the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting's Television Program Fund was 
discontinued. The series' one-hour episodes were 
composites of short documentary pieces produced 
by both independents and PBS stations dealing 
with a particular theme. 



Michcile Sporn's Abel's 

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8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



Despite the difficulties that independent pro- 
ducers face in getting something on the remaining 
PBS series, the current price being paid per minute 
does not seem anemic. At The 90's, the price per 
minute is $125, more than double last season's 
$60. At P.O.V. the price per minute is $375 — up 
from $350 last year. And at Alive from Off Center, 
the price is $500, about the same as last year. 
Three years ago that series paid $300 per minute. 

According to PBS's Ward, when you add up 
the programs that buy independent productions 
this year and compare that number to 1990, "I 
don't think we've lost anything." But, she adds, 
the new program-specific solicitation system 
which has replaced the Open Solicitation would 
not be called a positive development by many 
independent producers. "Economically, in all of 
the arts we're suffering — equally," says Ward. 
CPB Program Fund director Don Marbury agrees 
and predicts that more of the 7,000 independent 
producers on his mailing list are going to be left 
without a PBS showcase than in the past. 

SCOTT BARRETT 

New York-based freelance writer Scott Barrett 
has followed the television business for 
Broadcasting and View. 

NY IATSE WOOS 
LOW-BUDGET PRODUCERS 

Since the merger last fall of the National Associa- 
tion of Broadcast Employees and Technicians 
(NAB ET) Local 1 5 and the East Coast International 
Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), 
New York independents have been nervously 
waiting to see whether they will ever be able to 
shoot in the Big Apple again [see "NABET 15 No 
More: The Rise and Fall of the East Coast Local," 
November 1990]. With I A now the only game in 
town, low-budget filmmakers are concerned that 
NABET's flexibility with low-budget projects 
will be replaced by the IA's more traditional 
rigidity towards alternative wage structures and 
working terms. But nearly six months after the 
merger, propects are looking bright for indepen- 
dents. With former NABET members swelling 
I A ' s ranks and a Hollywood boycott of New York 
City shoots halting big-ticket production from 
November to March, the I A needs to find work for 
its members. As a result, the union has begun 
wooing independents. 

In addition to relaxing entry regulations, IA has 
formed a new mechanism for making union deals 
with low-budget producers. This new body, called 
the East Coast Council, is made up of business 
managers from the various locals who are em- 
powered to negotiate across-the-board contracts 
with producers having budgets under $5-million. 
In the past, each of IA's craft locals made separate 
deals. The new council is working with producers 
on a case-by-case basis, tailoring contracts spe- 
cifically to each budget. So far, contracts have 
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Vinny (Nestor Serrano), 
Tom (Mario Joyner), and 
Willie (Doug E. Doug) 
perform a little "ghetto 
theater" on a New York 
City subway in Hangin' 
with the Homeboys. Its 
premiere at the Sundance 
Film Festival was 
accompanied by a union 
picket. 

Courtesy New Line Cinema 







including the TV series Urban Anxiety ($3-mil- 
lion), by David Lynch and Mark Frost's Propa- 
ganda Films; Fathers and Sons ($ 1 .2-million), by 
Spike Lee; and Juices ($3-million), by Lee's cin- 
ematographer and first-time director Ernest 
Dickerson. In each case, the producer had limited 
cash and was able to negotiate contracts involving 
a combination of deferred and residual payments. 

Lou D'Agostino, business manager of IA Lo- 
cal 644 (cinematographers), co-chairs the council 
with former NABET business manager Brian 
Unger — the man many credit for fostering the 
IA's newfound open-mindedness. D'Agostino is 
very optimistic about the council, despite linger- 
ing doubts from the more conservative IA local 
leaders. "IA is realizing that there is a new 
framework in the industry," he says, referring to 
the proven success of low-budget projects. "And 
we're willing to work within that framework." 

Although an exact, long-term formula for re- 
sidual contracts has not been hammered out, 
D ' Agostino is confident deferral and profit-sharing 
contracts will last. He notes the cinematographers' 
local has been experimenting with such contracts 
for the past four years on projects such as Long- 
time Companion and The Trial ofBernie Goetz. 
Now with the East Coast Council, D'Agostino 
claims, "There will definitely be no more reason 
to shoot nonunion in this town. Independent pro- 
ducers will get access to the best talent at great 
prices, and there will be a renaissance of inde- 
pendent productions in New York City." 

Juices producer Preston Holmes concurs. He 
initially approached Unger at NABET, then con- 
tinued discussions after the merger with Unger 
and D'Agostino. "[Ours] was clearly a case of a 
film that could not have been done union without 
concessions." Holmes insists. "They were very 
flexible and willing to discuss basically every- 
thing strictly according to how much our budget 
is." 

While Holmes admits the locals are a long way 
from fully agreeing on more a flexible posture 
towards producers, he believes they are bent on 
making New York a more competitive location. 
"The important thing is that they are willing to 
talk. They won't give away the store, but they 



want to insure that shooting in this city contin- 
ues," he attests. 

Nevertheless, there have been recent glitches 
in the dealings between the unions and indepen- 
dents. At the Sundance Film Festival last January, 
representatives from New York editors' Local 
771 picketed the premiere of Hangin with the 
Homeboys to protest what they claimed was New 
Line Cinema's refusal to negotiate union status 
and wages for three of the four picture editors/ 
assistants on the film. Because the feature was 
made under the affirmative action contract with 
the Screen Actor's Guild, its budget had to remain 
under $2-million. The picture's producers main- 
tain that complying with 771's demands would 
have added $500,000. They say they offered a 
guaranteed deferral contingent on the film's 
opening, but 77 1 argues the lump sum promised 
was not even enough to cover overtime and ben- 
efits. 

Local 77 1 business managerBill Hanauerpoints 
out that the dispute erupted prior to the merger and 
maintains the union is not trying to chase away 
independents. Although he admits to being wor- 
ried because some members "have been burned 
by deferral deals," Hanauer says that 771, which 
is not a member of the East Coast Council but "is 
working closely with them," is actively courting 
independents. Nonetheless, many independents 
are wondering what kind of message the union is 
sending. Homeboy director Joe Vasquez, a New 
Yorker, will be shooting his next project in Cali- 
fornia, although it is set in the South Bronx. 

For now, the union seems to be moving slowly 
towards a new outlook. This was partly IA inter- 
national president Alfred DiTolla's intention when 
he engineered the absorption of the more liberal 
NABET Local 15 last fall. But it remains to be 
seen whether the progressive ranks within LA will 
win over their more conservative kin. Skeptics 
also worry that now that the Hollywood contracts 
are settled, low-budget priorities will take a back 
seat. Not so, says Holmes. "If anything, the studio 
boycotts emphasize how much unions need inde- 
pendents. If they aren't flexible," he asks, 
"wouldn't they be contributing to the growth of 
skilled, nonunion crews?" Evidently the union 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



leadership agrees. Says D'Agostino, "The out- 
come [of negotiations with Hollywood] does not 
change the positive outlook for independents." 

QT 

LEO HURWITZ: 1909-1991 

Leo Tolstoi Hurwitz helped shape and define the 
very notion of independent filmmaking through- 
out a long and rewarding career as a documentary 
filmmaker, television pioneer, educator, and po- 
litical activist. He died on January 18, 1991, of 
colon cancer. He was 81 years old. 

Born in Brooklyn in 1909, Hurwitz experi- 
enced a political upbringing by his parents, both 
of whom were active socialists. He first became 
interested in film while studying on scholarship at 
Harvard. After graduating in 1930, Hurwitz moved 
to New York, working initially as a freelance 
writer and photographer. He befriended photo- 
graphers Paul Strand and Ralph Steiner and soon 
became involved with the Film and Photo League, 
a left-wing artists' collective whose primary ob- 
jective was to document the activities of the 
workers' movement, which received little, if any, 
coverage in mainstream newsreels. As part of the 
League, Hurwitz directed Hunger 1932, a docu- 
mentary about the Hunger March on Washington, 
as well as films about the false prosecution of nine 
young black men for rape (The Scottsboro Boys) 
and the government's harrassment of dissenters 
(Land of Liberty, 1939). 

In 1935, Hurwitz and others formed a splinter 
group of the League, called Nykino, to continue to 
explore issues central to the US left with an 
increased emphasis on formal innovation. The 
name as well as the agenda were beholden to 
much-admired Soviet models. That same year, 
Hurwitz, Strand, and Steiner traveled west to 
shoot Pare Lorentz' classic documentary on the 
dust bowl, The Plow that Broke the Plains. 




Leo Hurwitz 

Photo: Jon P, Petrusson 



Soon afterward, Hurwitz and Strand founded 
Frontier Films, an offshoot of Nykino. A substan- 
tial group of films were produced collectively 
under its aegis, including Heart of Spain (1937), 
China Strikes Back (1937), and People of the 
Cumberland (1938). The best-known of the 
group's efforts, however, was Hurwitz and 
Strand's Native Land (1942), a dramatized re- 
construction of eight civil rights violations. 

Frontier Films was disbanded upon US in- 
volvement in World War II, and Hurwitz spent the 
next several years working on wartime propaganda 
films for various governmental agencies. After 
the war, he was enlisted by CBS Television to 
organize their burgeoning news department as 
chief of News and Special Events. He left CBS in 
1947 to make Strange Victory, a documentary 
about postwar racism in the US. 

Although Hurwitz was blacklisted during the 
fifties, he continued working (often anonymously), 
producing a group of films for the CBS series 
Omnibus and serving as director of film produc- 
tion for the United Nations. In 1956 he made The 
Museum and the Fury, a documentary about the 
Nazi concentration camps. In 1961 Hurwitz di- 
rected the daily international broadcasts of the 
Adolf Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. His condensed 
version of the Nazi's trial, Verdict for Tomorrow, 
won both Peabody and Emmy awards. In the mid- 
sixties he and other members of the Screen 
Director's International Guild, which he cofounded 
the previous decade, sued the Directors Guild of 
America over their continued use of the loyalty 
oath. The outcome was a US Court of Appeals 
decision requiring the DGA to remove the oath 
from its membership application. 

In this period Hurwitz and his second wife, 
Peggy Lawson, collaborated on a series of films 
for National Educational Television and the 
American Federation of the Arts. From 1969 to 
1 974, Hurwitz was a professor of film and chairman 
of the Graduate Institute of Film and Television at 
New York University. The filmmaker spent a 
good part of the seventies working on Dialogue 
with a Woman Departed (1981), a four-hour 
homage to Lawson and visual poem about the 
period in which she lived. 

His commitment to making politically engaged, 
socially relevant films continued throughout his 
life. He was working on a script for a film about 
abolitionist John Brown when he died. Speaking 
about his maturation as a filmmaker during the 
thirties, Hurwitz once remarked, "It gave me a 
deep-lying conviction that social and individual 
predicaments are amenable to solution — that the 
changes and contradictions we live through can 
go beyond despair and alienation. And it confirmed 
my feeling that I belonged in the conspiracy of art 
(against socially dictated modes of perception, 
feeling, thinking), which is part of the larger and 
continuing conspiracy to be human." 

TOD LIPPY 

To d Lippy is a filmmaker and writer living in New 
York City. 



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THE INDEPENDENT 1 1 



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Manhattan Cable has been ordered to add a fifth 
public access channel after losing a suit brought 
by several independent producers. The federal 
district court judge found the cable operator to be 
in violation of its franchise agreement and the 
Cable Act of 1984 because it provided only four 
public or leased access channels. Manhattan 
Cable's poor record on access was a major ob- 
stacle last year when franchise owner Time Warner 
tried to renew its contract ["Cable Franchise Fracas 
in Manhattan," August/September 1990]. 

In California, a new statewide cable consumer 
group has been formed, called the Consumer 
Cable Corps. Its mission is to fight rate hikes, 
poor service, and "the arrogance of the industry 
towards its customers," according to founder 
Sylvia Siegel. Previously, as founder of Toward 
Utility Rate Normalization (TURN), Siegel ran a 
long and successful campaign against utility com- 
pany rate increases. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Lillian Jimenez left her position as director of the 
Paul Robeson Fund to act as a freelance consult- 
ant. She will be working with Media Network, the 
Museo del Barrio, and other organizations. Kevin 
Duggan has stepped down as director of informa- 
tion services at Media Network in New York City 



and has been replaced by David Meieran, for- 
merly of the Testing the Limits collective. In 
addition, Media Network has appointed Juan 
Mendez as its membership and outreach coordi- 
nator. Mendez was previously with the Lower 
East Side Family Union. Julian Low has been 
appointed to the newly created position of na- 
tional director of the National Alliance of Media 
Arts Centers. Most recently, Low administered 
the National Endowment for the Arts/NAMAC's 
Media Arts Development Fund. 



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FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film (FIVF), the foundation affili- 
ate of the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), sup- 
ports a variety of programs and services 
for the independent producer commu- 
nity, including publication of The Inde- 
pendent, maintenance of the Festival 
Bureau, seminars and workshops, an 
information clearinghouse, and a grant 
making program. None of this work 
would be possible without the generous 
support of the following agencies, 
foundations and organizations: The 
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12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 




! ENCUENTRO OF A FIRST KIND 

? Cruzando Fronteras Conference 



ROSA LINDA FREGOSO 



Held in Tijuana, Baja California, from November 
30 to December 2 of last year, the Cruzando 
Fronteras (Crossing Borders) conference brought 
together women video- and filmmakers, as well as 
critics from Mexico and the US. For the first time 
ever, Mexican and Latina film practitioners from 
both sides of the border met for three days— and 
for several reasons. They protested the exclusion 
of women from Chicanos 90, an event exclusively 
reserved for Mexican and Chicano male filmmak- 
ers. They also honored Mexican filmmaker Matilde 




A highlight for many attendees of 

Cruzanedo Fronteras was the appearance 

of veteran Mexican filmmaker and 

mentor Matilde Landeta. Her La Negra 

Angustias, set in the Mexican Revolution, 

features an assertive, independent 

woman and anticipates the concerns of 

feminist filmmakers. 



Landeta and the late video artist Pola Weiss. They 
exchanged practical information on funding 
sources and distribution networks, explored the 
possibility of joint productions, and entertained 
theoretical questions pertaining to a feminine aes- 
thetic. 

Yet in many respects Cruzando Fronteras' his- 
toric significance goes beyond the politics inher- 
ent in the meeting's novelty. Indeed, the confer- 
ence was more than a premiere encuentro (en- 
counter) between imagemakers and critics from 
two sides of a border, sharing ideas and impres- 
sions. The conference blurred the boundaries which 
the very notion of border elicits (my reference 
here is not to some abstract postmodern notion of 
a border). Cruzando Fronteras also healed a wound 



which has divided Mexican and Chicano/a intel- 
lectuals for some time. 

My journalistic account of this historic event 
departs somewhat from an insider's perspective. 
As a young activist in the Chicano Power Move- 
ment of the sixties, I remember similar encuentros 
between Mexican and Chicano intellectuals from 
both sides of the "border." These gatherings were 
often disappointing, opening rather than healing 
wounds between sisters and brothers who had 
been separated by that great scar which divides the 
US from the Spanish-speaking part of the conti- 
nent. During the sixties, the Chicano Power 
Movement focused attention on the fact that 
Mexicans from both sides of the border had been 
divided by the US-Mexican War of 1848, in 
which Mexico lost half of its territory to its northern 
neighbor. Socialized by dominant cultural and 
educational institutions that disfigured and mis- 
interpreted our history, Chicano intellectuals 
sought refuge in retracing our roots, reestablish- 
ing our lineage, and reconnecting with the "le- 
gitimate" historical agents, Mexican intellectuals. 
Yet class differences were often difficult to tran- 
scend. 

After all, we — Chicanos/as — were first-gen- 
eration university intellectuals, but we were also 
the sons and daughters of the Mexican working 
class. Mexican intellectuals were generally from 
middle-class origins. They were also, perhaps 
unwittingly, patronizing and paternalistic — cor- 
recting our factual errors in history, ridiculing our 
reinvention of an idyllic Aztec past, drawing 
attention to our linguistic "mistakes" (i.e., our 
muddled mixture of Spanish with English). They 
came to teach us what we painfully knew had been 
taken away by an official historiography that 
distorted our experience in the US. Despite their 
progressive leanings, the elitism of Mexican intel- 
lectuals kept the wounds alive. And nowhere were 
divergences between Chicano and Mexican in- 
tellectuals more evident than in our contrary re- 
lations to "Mexican" symbols and icons. 

In opposition to the red-white-and-blue flag of 
racism and imperialism, Chicanos/as paraded the 
red-white-and-green Mexican national Hag Yet, 
in the Mexican context, the latter represented 
oppressive nationalism/patriotism. Whereas 
United Farmworkers Union-led bo\ cotts marched 
behind the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe and 
Chicano/a artists celebrated her as the patron of 
the poor, for Mexican intellectuals the Virgin 
served to mvstih the Mexican "masses." For 



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Because of La Negra Angustias" 

treatment of issues like sexual and 

racial oppression, critic B. Ruby Rich 

suggested that this 1 949 film should 

mark the beginning of the New Latin 

American Cinema, rather than the 

male-directed films of the 1 950s. 



them, she embodied the repressive politics of the 
Catholic Church in Mexico. Given the irreconcil- 
able nature of these perspectives, Ihave not looked 
forward to formal meetings with Mexican intel- 
lectuals. I accepted the invitation to participate in 
Crossing Borders less to engage my Mexican 
counterparts in a scholarly dialogue than to deliver 
a paper, view films, and spend some time with 
Chicana filmmakers. Years ago, I had given up 
trying to explain the multifaceted Chicana per- 
spective to Mexican intellectuals. 

But on the second day of the conference, during 
a panel on Chicana films, Mexican filmmaker 
Maria Novaro intimated something along these 
lines: "During the sixties I used to ridicule Chicano 
artists for depicting emblems like the Mexican 
flag and the Virgin of Guadalupe in their art 
works, because these were symbols of the 
hegemonic forces, symbols which were used to 
exploit the Mexican people. But in the midst of all 
the suffering and hardship in Mexico today, I now 
realize that I'm missing something. By invoking 
these symbols, Chicanos have given us something 
back which we seem to have lost. And today I feel 
I have a lot to learn from the Chicanas. I want to 
wear the Virgin of Guadalupe on the back of my 
jacket." The sincerity of Novaro's words sparked 
a turning point in my relation to intellectuals from 
the Mother Country. 

The encuentro of Mexicana and United States 
Latina Film and Video Makers was organized by 
the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) and a 
steering committee comprising Chicana film- 
makers Lourdes Portillo (Xochitl Films) and Nancy 
de los Santos; Rosa Martha Fernandez, director of 
TV-UN AM (the National Autonomous University 
of Mexico); and Norma Iglesias from COLEF. 
The conference was sponsored by several institu- 
tions, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the 
Centro Cultural de la Raza, Programa Cultural de 
las Fronteras, TV-UN AM, Xochitl Films, and the 
Autonomous University of Baja California. 

To some degree, the event originated as a 
reaction to the exclusion of Chicana filmmakers 
from the recent Chicanos 90. Hosted by Mexican 
President Salinas de Gortari, the Chicanos 90 
ceremony was held at the Instituto de Cinema- 
tografia in Mexico City. Moreover, preparations 
are underway for May 1 99 1 , when primarily male 
Chicano filmmakers will host their Mexican 
counterparts at a similar encuentro in Los Ange- 
les. Not only did the details surrounding the event 
surface at the opening panel of Crossing Borders. 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 




but Chicanos 90 was a frequent topic in hallway 
and dinner discussions throughout the three-day 
conference in Tijuana. As most participants con- 
curred, the politics of sexism remains a potent 
force, compounding the difficulties facing inde- 
pendent film- and videomakers today on both 
sides of the border. 

In the case of Mexican women filmmakers, 
whose experience in the trade predates that of 
Chicanas, the politics of exclusion based on gen- 
der is nothing new. Mexican journalist Patricia 
Vega gave a dismal account of women's partici- 
pation (or lack thereof) in the Mexican film in- 
dustry. According to Vega, from 1917 to 1990 
there have been only 26 feature films directed by 
11 women. Moreover, only four of the 233 
members of the Mexican Association of Directors 
are women. Two, the veterans Matilde Landeta 
and Marcela Fernandez Violante, were present at 
Crossing Borders. 

Active in every phase of the conference, both 
Landeta and Fernandez Violante gave younger 
filmmakers a solid introduction to the history of 
women's struggles as filmmakers. The opportu- 
nity to engage with these two pioneers of Mexican 
cinema on an informal basis was, for Chicanas in 
particular, one of the high points of the confer- 
ence. Their counsel and support were truly inspi- 
rational. Beyond their spirited interventions dur- 
ing the discussion period of every panel, the films 
by Landeta and Fernandez Violante were most 
impressive, since La Negra Angustias and 
Trolacalles, by Landeta, and Frida and Cananea, 
by Fernandez Violante, exemplify a feminist poli- 
tics of social commitment. 

Indeed Landeta's early feature film La Negra 
Angustias anticipates current concerns of femi- 
nist filmmakers. The film is set during the Mexi- 



can Revolution, patterning the strategy of framing 
"sensitive" issues in historical events — a strategy 
which helps filmmakers circumvent the likeli- 
hood of State sanctions in response to the political 
volatility suggested by the film. Produced at a 
time before Mexican women were allowed to 
vote, the film's main character is an assertive, 
independent woman. Thus, the film's subtext ad- 
vocates equal rights and supports the women's 
suffrage movement in Mexico. 

What is striking about La Negra Angustias is 
the complexity with which it renders race rela- 
tions: the main character is partly black, and the 
black presence in Mexican society is rarely ac- 
knowledged. Moreover, the film is highly critical 
of gender oppression, in particular sexual abuse of 
women by men. Angustias, the main character, 
shuns romantic advances by a man, refusing his 
hand in marriage. Although in the end she gives in 
to romantic heterosexual love, there are moments 
where the character's sexuality remains ambiva- 
lent to the extent that her unspecified sexual 
preference unleashes acts of homophobic hysteria 
among the townspeople. It is the film's bold 
treatment of these issues which moved film critic 
B. Ruby Rich to suggest a revisionist chronology 
for the New Latin American Cinema movement. 
Contesting "phallocentric definitions" of the 
movement during her talk at Crossing Borders, 
Rich proposed that the beginnings of New Latin 
American Cinema date instead to 1949, with the 
production of La Negra Angustias, rather than the 
mid- 1 950s, which is the period generally assigned 
to its inception. 

Fernandez Violante has been no less daring in 
her cinematic production. Among her films fea- 
tured at the conference was Cananea, a fictional 
film based on the exploitation of Mexican miners 



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by a US boss. Produced under the auspices of the 
Mexican government during President Eche- 
verria's tenure (1970-76), Cananea was censored 
for dealing with the controversial privatization 
and sale of Mexican mining interests to foreign 
investors. 

Nearly 80 films and videos by Latinas from 
both sides of the border were shown during daily 
screenings, including eight feature films by Mexi- 
can filmmakers. The works exhibited include the 
usual fare of didactic (commissioned) documen- 
taries but also newer experimental works, demon- 
strating the wide spectrum of aesthetic and political 
positions taken by Latina imagemakers. Dealing 
with social problems faced by US Latino/as — 
immigration, AIDS, homelessness, drug addic- 
tion, and religion, for example — the bread-and- 
butter pieces featured at the conference included 
Port of Entry, by Nancy de los Santos; Visa for a 
Dream, by Sonia Fritz; Viva Eu, by Tania Cypriano; 
The Salt Mines, by Susan Atkins and Carlos 
Aparicio; Vaya con Dios, by Sylvia Morales; and 
La Ofrenda, by Lourdes Portillo. 

Also evident among the films and videos by 
Chicana artists was an interest in what has been 
designated "the politics of representation." In- 
dicative of this direction were the works that 
framed political themes — like cultural identity, 
ritual, and collective or individual revisionist his- 
tory — and employed newer experimental styles. 
In this respect, a number of shorts by Chicana 
videomakers exemplify a new trend in image- 
making. T. Osa Hidalgo de la Riva's Olmeca Rap, 
for instance, is a montage set to rap music. Anima, 
by Frances Salome Espana, renders the traditional 
celebration of the Day of the Dead in a ritualized 
form. Sandra P. Halm's depiction of this same 
celebration, Replies of the Night, uses computer 
animation. Formal experimentation enters Beverly 
Sanchez Padilla's documentary about Juan Chacon 
(the main character of Salt of the Earth). Corrido 
de Juan Chacon layers clips from the movie and 
singing by a female vocalist as commentary, thus 
resisting the temptation to resort to didactic 
voiceover. 

A new aesthetic trend emphasizing expressive 
over referential approaches, as well as different 
interests in subject matter, were taken up in critical 
panels entitled Individualism and Collectivity, 
the Feminine Aesthetic, and Images of Everyday 
Life in Cinema. For Ruby Rich, differences in 
thematic concerns among women artists suggest a 
"shift from exteriority to interiority." According 
to Rich, recent productions by Latin American 
women reclaim the individual, signalling a 
movement away from the "revolutionary to the 
revelatory." Ana Marie Mier's talk on films by 
Mexican women also traced a trend towards "in- 
dividualization" and the "abandonment of col- 
lectivity," exemplified in several of the Mexican 
films screened at Cruzando Fronteras: El Ultimo 
Tranvia, by Olga Caceres; Una Isla Rodeada de 
Agua and Azul Celeste; by Maria Novaro; Nadie 
Es Inocente, by Sylvana Zuanette; Los Pasos de 
Anna, by Marise Sistach; and A laMismaHora,by 



Teresa Mendicutti. In a similar vein, Fernandez 
Violante's recent film, Nocturno Amor que Te 
Vas, exemplifies the tendency Mier terms the 
"woman as voyeur." 

If many of the newer films represent a post- 
modernist preoccupation with the self, identity, 
and subjectivity, it would be grossly reductive to 
identify this as the dominant trend among 
Mexicana filmmakers. More properly, the need to 
specify individual subjectivities enriches the so- 
cial activism which has historically informed the 
works of so-called Third World women. Politically 
committed films that come to mind are La Casa 
Dividida, by Rosa Martha Fernandez, an innova- 
tive documentary rendered in the style of a soap 
opera. La Casa Dividida deals with the problems 
a small town family faces when its members 
migrate to the US, but also ingeniously incorpo- 
rates actual historical subjects as coproducers of 
the films. Another activist film, No Les Pedimos 
un Viaje a la Luna (We're Not Asking for a Trip to 
the Moon), by Mari Carmen de Lara, documents 
the plight of women garment workers after the 
earthquake in Mexico and the formation of the 19 
de Septiembre Union. 

The success of Crossing Borders more than 
satisfied the objectives envisioned by conference 
organizers. First of all, the conference opened 
avenues of communication between Latina artists 
on both sides of the border. Women exchanged 
experiences, discussed joint projects — including 
a series of bilingual TV programs about film- and 
videomakers — and made concrete steps towards 
establishing distribution networks. A recommen- 
dation was even made for suspending union re- 
strictions for Chicanas filming in Mexico. 

The encuentro ended on an emotional high, 
with participants celebrating in the traditional 
Latino fashion of dancing all night and into the 
morning hours. Yet this celebratory posture was 
not your usual pat-on-the-back finale that charac- 
terizes many conferences. Cerrando con broche 
de oro (literally, closing with a golden brooch), 
conference participants had much to celebrate. 
For one, the Colegio de la Frontera's President 
Jorge Bustamante committed the sum of $30,000 
for a biannual conference in Tijuana. The Mexi- 
can Secretariat of Foreign Relations' (SRE) rep- 
resentative, Tere Franco, offered to fund a Latina 
film and video program which will tour interna- 
tionally as part of the SRE's Program for Mexi- 
cans Abroad. A catalogue will accompany the 
exhibition. And a permanent seven-member board 
of directors of Latinas from both sides of the 
border was elected by conference participants. 
These are the major reasons why Cruzando 
Fronteras participants danced until four a.m. Af- 
ter all, concrete accomplishments are what blur- 
ring borders is all about. 

Rosa Linda Fregoso is assistant professor in the 
Departments of Communication and Chicano 
Studies at the University of California, Santa 
Barbara. She is currently writing a book on 
Chicanola cinematic representation. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 




CTTITVl? TTU 'WtTCf "D 

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ibje Prices 



MICHAEL SAHL 



lhe difference 
between live and 
synthesized music is 
not fundamentally 
a matter of "sound." 
"Sound" can be 
sampled, but music 
can't. Composers 
make up notes and 
give directions, but 
only musicians can 
make it music. 



A film with a low budget needs a low-budget 
score. Currently everyone seems to think the only 
solution is "synthetic." Disaster stories about out- 
of-control costs of studios and studio musicians 
circulate like atrocity stories in wartime. A history 
of rock-and-roll waste and open-ended sessions 
poison the air. So bring in the synthesizers — the 
Yamaha, the Korg, and the various Midis. "They 
can do anything. They can adjust length, pitch, 
color, tone, and they can do it in any time frame." 

But what about the sound? "Hey, we've got 
sampling! All our sounds are real sounds. Real 
strings, real percussion, even real voices." I'd like 
an acoustic guitar. "Guitar? We've got seven 
guitars in here (patting the Korg), and listen to this 
drum set — jazz, rock, Brazilian, Cuban, African 
drums. What isn't in this hard drive we have on 
disc." 

Sound like the answer to your dreams? Ideally, 
it could be. Multitracking and computer boards 
allow the ultimate choice of what to keep and what 
to combine with what. It puts the whole operation 
in your hands, and you don ' t have to communicate 
with anybody across that difficult gulf that sepa- 
rates music and film. No language problems and 
no sync problems. But I would add to that list, no 
music, no life, no good. Synthesized music sounds 
exactly like what it is — to wit, a mechanized, 
quantified, predigested cartoon track made of 
Lego blocks. 

I'm not saying that synthesizers are useless. 
I've used them often as secondary voices and, 
occasionally, as leads in scientific and industrial 
films. For filling up the middle and giving the 
illusion of mass to a small ensemble, they have no 
peer. The very cool but obsessive quality that 
comes from creating rhythms on the sequencer (a 
mathematically exact pattern that no human mu- 
sician can emulate) does have force and power — 
in horror movies, in certain kinds of industrial 
sequences, in jeans commercials, and even for 
some postmodern moments of existential mean- 
ingless and inexplicable anxiety. 

But mechanical perfection is not, will never be, 
and needn ' t be a substitute for the organic, musico- 
dramatic effect of instruments. The warmth, the 
humanity, the emotion, the glamour, the bril- 
liance, which come not only from the sound of the 
instruments but from the individual human con- 
tribution of the player — this very idiosyncracy 
and quirkiness is what the electronic score lacks. 
If you listen to the old scores of Max Steiner or 
Bernard Herrmann, much of their effect comes 



from the unique contribution of individual play- 
ers, perceptible even on fuzzy old optical tracks. 

The difference between live and synthesized 
music is not fundamentally a matter of "sound." 
"Sound" can be sampled, but music can't. Com- 
posers make up notes and give directions, but only 
musicians can make it music. Half of what a 
composer does is to turn the musicians on, so that 
they wake up and do things that nobody can 
program. This is the life and beauty of music, as 
you hear it: not just Ray Charles, but Ray Charles ' 
band; not just Miles, but Miles' rhythm section; 
not just Ozawa, but the whole Philharmonic. 

For a number of years, the synthesizer has been 
invading the musical theater. Piano cum synthe- 
sizer cum percussionist has replaced the traditional 
small band in the pit. The sound is thin and 
metallic, but it is tolerable in live performance as 
long as it accompanies singing, which is the 
primary focus of the musical stage. The synthesizer 
does quite well for "cute" effects and fill, but 
where there is any soulfulness to be expressed, the 
piano takes the lead. Likewise for underscoring 
dialogue in film, much can be tolerated, but when 
you have an MOS sequence, a dramatic hold on a 
face, or a long traveling sequence, the poverty of 
mechanized music becomes impossible to ignore. 

You can afford real musicians. The last long 
(low-budget) film I scored had an ensemble of 
five players, the one before had seven, and the one 
before that had 13. The costs in all three cases 
were competitive with synthesized budget scores. 

Let H stand for a musician's hourly rate, figured 
as one hour of a three-hour session.* Each musi- 
cian charges H for an hour of recording time. A 
perfectly adequate but cheap studio (there are 
dozens in Manhattan and every composer knows 
at least five) will charge about 2H per hour, 
including tape stock and extras. If your composer 
is well prepared and timings are worked out either 
to stopwatch or to the electric metronome, if the 
musicians are pros and are used to recording 
briskly (and the good ones are), it is possible to 
lay down 15 minutes of recorded music in a three- 
hour session. The scores to most features films, 
typically 30 minutes of music — including option- 
al extras and alternate versions — can be laid 
down in one double session (six hours). If five 
musicians play for six hours (where one musician 



♦Scale is about $100 an hour and an uptown studio is 
about $200 an hour. But very often musicians work for 
less than scale and the studios go down proportional!) . 



MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



is the leader and therefore gets 2H per hour), 
the cost of the raw session will be 36H for musi- 
cians and 12H for the studio — a total of 46H for 
the double session. The mix can probably be 
done in four hours, which should cost about 12H. 
So the net recording and mixing budget comes 
to 60H. 

Using a multitrack synthesizer, the speed of 
laying down the music is many times slower, 
since one player is making a complete pass for 
each instrument. Then there is search time, as each 
track is laid down, for the most plausible or least 
implausible sound. In the case of percussion, 
this can be an agonizing, not to say mind-numb- 
ing experience. Then there is the Law of Murphy, 
patron saint of all techies, which causes all kinds 
of strangeness. Things disappear. Tracks laid down 
in sync with other overdubs come out mysteri- 
ously out-of-sync. To the vicissitudes of record- 
ing equipment add the vicissitudes of the com- 
puter. Net result: the lay down rate of 1 5 minutes 
of music per hour can fall to one minute per 
hour. Assuming that the composer has agreed 
to play all sync parts as part of his creative fee and 
that no other musicians need be hired, studio time 
would total 60H, plus 30H for the mix (many 
tracks need to be resynthesized in the mix to make 
them sound "collectively"), totalling 90H, as op- 
posed to the 60H total with human musicians. 

But how will I know what I'm getting before 
it's too late? With this question, we come to the 
major, noneconomic reason why synthesized 
music is in vogue. It's a question of communica- 
tion and trust versus control. If you can't commu- 
nicate your musical ideas and trust that they'll 
come back from the composer enhanced, if you 
don't understand the process, you'll feel more 



comfortable and more in control with the syn- 
thesizer. It's a language problem. There is a tech- 
nical language of music which has the virtue of 
specificity, but no emotional or dramatic descrip- 
tive powers. Then there is everyday language 
about music, which can convey much more about 
the effect of music, but is frighteningly vague. 

Often the filmmaker has heard something, or 
several different things, that seem right. Some- 
times there is no idea yet — or, there was an idea 
but it's out of date by the end of the shoot, or no 
longer inspires. Whatever input the filmmaker 
can give, be it scattered and vague, it is a begin- 
ning and therefore precious. 

Then what? Film scores, however original they 
may be in relationship to film, are not supposed to 
be all that original as music. Unless you're Raul 
Ruiz (Godard on occasion), and you want to use 
music to deconstruct the scene, a totally new 
musical form will tend toward self-importance 
and overwhelm other cinematic elements, like 
story or character. So scores generally derive from 
a synthesis of sounds which are preexistent, from 
sources that both filmmaker and composer can 
hear. Communication is therefore possible. 

First you have to listen to samples that have the 
wrong music but the right sound. Then the com- 
poser can write and record on some keyboard 
instrument the right music, or many right musics, 
but at this stage, of course, with a crummy wrong 
sound. It's worth transferring the ugly keyboard 
version to mag and putting it up editorially against 
whatever cut is available. When it becomes too 
awful to listen to the sound of a piano playing what 
should be a violin, a hom, or a flute, you. can 
reference the research music that has the approxi- 
mate right sound on it — to reassure yourself that 



the music will do what you want it to do. Usually 
composers have a host of examples of finished 
work employing a large range of sound language. 
By immersion in the process, and by repetition, 
you can learn to translate from a sketch or "dummy" 
score to the real thing. Alas, you will never be able 
to hear the finished score before the session, but 
all kinds of alternate versions and cues can be 
planned to anticipate and accommodate varia- 
tions of taste. 

For the $952,000 budget (total music budget 
$23,000) feature Waiting for the Moon, director 
Jill Godmilow and I decided on a basic sound 
combination of clarinet, accordion, violin, viola, 
guitar, piano, and bass (with some doubling up or 
overdubbing of the strings). The blend of the 
violin and viola on one hand, and the blend of 
clarinet and accordian on the other, enabled me to 
create, where required, a rich orchestral or "furry" 
sound, while the guitar (used solo only once) had 
the effect of sweetening the piano and bass. The 
thrust of the score was slightly nostalgic and 
bittersweet. Generally it was designed to play 
against the picture, rather than underscoring or 
forcing the surface emotions of the scenes. 

This playing against proved a great communi- 
cation challenge for Jill and myself. She was 
worried that I was going to get romantically sloppy 
and create a 1950 Italian tearjerker-type score 
with these instruments for her essentially dry, 
modernist film. From my end, I had to deal with 
the fact that music doesn't make subtle moods; it 
makes strong moods. When you average two 
moods together hoping for something in between, 
you often get nothing. So the issue was not so 
much what the music was going to be but what the 
sandwich of picture, dialogue, and sound was 



In composing a score for Waiting for the 

Moon, Jill Godmilov/s film on Gertrude 

Stein and Alice B. Toklas, author Michael 

Sahl devised a full-sounding acoustic 

soundtrack with relatively few instruments. 

Photo: Maryse Albert^ courtesy Skouras Pictures 




1 8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



The score for Adam 

Clayton Powell was 

economically built from 

pseudo-examples of 

jazz and gospel tunes 

from the period. 

Courtesy Direct Cinema 




going to be and what place music would have in 
that sandwich. In the end, because of the smart, 
sometimes arch dialogue of the film, coupled with 
the distance generated by the rather formal shooting 
and cutting style, I could get away with some 
romantic cues. 

But how to know beforehand how affective 
those cues would be when dealing with only a 
rough piano track? I had recently done (as ar- 
ranger and pianist) two records for Nonesuch 
called The Tango Project. Using these records, 
Jill and I were able to verify that, mixed at the right 
level, even the most soulful, gypsyesque violin 
playing would pull against, but not destroy, the 
dry character of what was on the screen. The 
soulfulness delivered a sense of inexpressible or 
forbidden emotions behind the wisecracks of 
Gertrude and Alice and significantly deepened 
the text. 

In a more recent example, Adam Clayton 
Powell, directed by Richard Kilberg, the problem 
was very different. This is the story of a very 
nervy, gifted, and tragic individual who dared the 
system to do its worst and suffered the terrible 
consequences of being, as he put it, "the first bad 
nigger in Congress." The "manifest" nature of the 
score was to be a kind of "jazz history," coincident 
with the active part of Powell's life as a black 
minister and Congressman. It also had to under- 
line certain aspects of the Civil Rights Move- 
ment — the part that Powell had led and the part 
that passed him by. In a much more covert way 
than in Waiting for the Moon, the score's psy- 
chological work had to be done not by telling the 
audience how to feel, but by getting the audience 
to bring its own feelings to the screen. 

In effect, we made a crypto-underscore built on 
pseudo-examples of jazz, which I wrote. (The 



original jazz recordings were way out of range of 
the grant-funded budget.) The biggest "fake" was 
the main and end title music — a bastard gospel 
tune that never was nor will be sung at the Abys- 
sinian Baptist Church. But as film music, it was 
just what the doctor ordered. As the big cadence 
opens up under an elderly woman saying how 
there would never be anybody like Powell, it was 
extremely effective. 

As always, the music budget of the film was 
disastrously small. I organized a band of clarinet 
(doubling for sax), trumpet, piano, bass, and drums, 
plus me, the composer, making "organ music" 
on — yes — the synthesizer. The track sounds full, 
as does the score of Moon, causing one to reflect 
that harmony and instrumentation have as much 
to do with the sensation of bigness as a plentitude 
of tracks. 

The synthesizer, with its midis, is a great ma- 
chine, capable of terrific things. It has practically 
created a new kind of music of its own. But it isn't, 
and cannot be, a human rock group, a human jazz 
quintet, or a chamber ensemble. And it might not 
be the right source of music for your film. If you 
have other needs, I urge you not to settle, but to 
call a composer and find out that you could have 
exactly what you want in living music and afford 
it too. 

Michael Sahl writes crossover music, related to 
both Romantic music and jazz. His most recent 
film scores are Waiting for the Moon and Adam 
Clayton Powell; his Symphony 1988 was 
performed at Lincoln Center, and his newest 
opera, Dream Beach, was heard on WNYC-FM on 
February 18, J 991. 



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MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



The Ethics of Community Media 

A FILMMAKER CONFRONTS THE CONTRADICTIONS OF PRODUCING MEDIA 
ABOUT AND FOR A COMMUNITY WHERE SHE IS BOTH AN INSIDER AND OUTSIDER 




Who is the community? Barrio 
residents comment on the issues in 
AIDS in the Barrio. 



FRANCES NEGRON-MUNTANER 



When media professionals ask, "how can we awaken them <com- 
munities with little or no political power) to the potential of media?" we 
assume a patronizing position. As a Puerto Rican and lesbian film/ 
videomaker, I am aware of the double bind of being both part of the power 
(as a professional) and marginalized by it (as a cultural and sexual Other), 
and the effects of these contradictions in the power relationships one 
establishes with communities that we claim as our own. 

In the course of my work as a mediamaker — particularly as coproducer 
of AIDS in the Barrio (a 29-minute documentary on the social, economic, 
and cultural context of the AIDS crisis in Philadelphia's Latino community) — 
I have faced a number of situations that point to the contradictions that not 
only so-called minority filmmakers confront but many politically invested 
filmmakers as well. By examining this experience, I hope to raise some 
questions about the relationship between filmmakers and "communities" 
perceived to be unempowered. It is important to ask these questions if 
mediamakers are to avoid reproducing the power structures we amply 
criticize in our works and our discourse as independents. 

Despite our often casual and imprecise use of the term "community," it 
is no accident that we tend to choose this word when speaking about groups 
with a unempowered relationship to dominant power structures. Thus, we 
refer to the black community, the Latino community, the gay community, 



and the women's community. We never say the 
men's community, the white community, or the 
middle-class community. We say the independent 
community but only mention Hollywood by its 
single name. Because the former "communities" 
are also composed of other "communities," or 
sectors, which also entail power relationships, the 
term falls short of describing the multiplicity of 
experience within these groups. Because the con- 
cept of community remains imprecise, I will be as 
specific as possible when referring to my own 
experience. When I do use the word community, 
I am employing an abstract notion that refers to a 
group of people who have both been identified and 
self-identified as members of a distinct group 
because of their relationship to dominant political 
structures and similar (but not homogeneous) ways 
of coping with those structures. 

The making of AIDS in the Barrio was motivated by personal experience. 
Alba Martinez, who eventually became coproducer of the film, lost a close 
relative to AIDS in 1 986. At that time, we were living together in the Puerto 
Rican sector of North Philadelphia and were both active in community 
politics. Alba is a Community Legal Services lawyer, and I was working for 
a newspaper based in the community. As information about AIDS became 
more accessible, we realized that, despite the low numbers of reported AIDS 
cases among Latinos living in Philadelphia, Puerto Ricans were going to be 
hit by the epidemic in a severe way, and Alba was becoming increasingly 
frustrated by the increased bureaucratization of AIDS service organiza- 
tions. Since I knew that film can function as a form of activism, we decided 
that we could make a modest contribution regarding the AIDS crisis and 
develop a tool that would also address other issues — nonmedical ones — 
which, as women and (in my case) gay activists, we saw as key. 

Early in the process these issues were identified as the political economy 
of the drug trade, women's subordination, and the double standard of 
sexuality, as well as the effects of deeply rooted homophobia. At first we 
intended to produce an informational piece because we — along with most 
of the print media we came across — believed that the Latino community did 
not have sufficient AIDS prevention information. But we were quickly 
disabused of this idea when we went out with a video camera and asked 
people what information they had about AIDS. To our amazement, our 
interviewees did have information about AIDS. What they didn't seem to 
have was a practice which acted upon the information. 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



Top: A man condemns homosexuality as 

unnatural. Bottom: An out-of-the-closet 

Latino gay man interviewed in AIDS in 

the Barrio. 



At this point some questions regarding my initial comments concerning 
"community" reappear. Here we were, middle-class, US-educated, Island- 
raised Puerto Rican women. Were we part of the "community"? Just 
because we had good intentions, the ability to tap into resources, and cross- 
class alliances with the Puerto Rican community, did we have the right to 
tell people what they should be doing? Were the obstacles preventing 
implementation of AIDS prevention only evident from a relative distance? 
How did this film become "community media" when its origins were and 
were not in the "community"? 

And there was another aspect of this venture. We wanted to make a film, 
but we didn't know how. I was in film school but was not yet capable of 
handling a big production. Since Alba worked full-time, it was obvious that 
we needed to form a team. A Puerto Rican film student from Temple, David 
Cochran, expressed interest in contributing the technical skills, while Alba 
and I started writing what we thought was a convincing proposal. Although 
it was a skeleton, the project was brought to the attention of David Haas, who 
became the executive producer. Then Cochran left Philadelphia, and we 
hired Peter Biella, an experienced independent filmmaker — and another 
white man — to assemble a crew and serve as codirector. Now our core was 
complete. We later added a group of community activists and health 
professionals as consultants to guarantee some feedback from the potential 
professional users of this film. 

At that point, the people involved in making the major decisions either 
had no previous relationship to the community or had a professional 
relationship to this community. This last characteristic does not mean that 
people were necessarily disconnected from the community's general 
problems. But it does mean that when we wanted to remove ourselves from 
the problems of the community, we could. If, as professionals, we were 
burnt out or wanted to move into more "mainstream" jobs, we could. If, as 
residents of the barrio, we wanted to buy a house in a middle-class, graffiti 
and drug free neighborhood, it was within our reach. Many of the partici- 
pants in our project did not have these options. 

As production progressed and we began to spend long hours in the 
"community" searching for the subjects of the film, two things occurred. I 
understood that this was a film being made about AIDS in the Puerto Rican 
community and was not a film coming from the community. We had a clear 
agenda of what we wanted and went out to get it. For example, if the average 
opinion of people in the barrio was that homosexuality was wrong, we opted 
for the definitely minority opinion that it is not wrong and proceeded to 
prove it. If this was a "community" production, why didn't it reflect the 
community's sentiments? Again, the question became: Who is the com- 
munity? 

Likewise, is it ethically questionable to structure a section on women's 
subordination with statements made by men who had no idea we were going 
to make them look like fools? Or did it really matter that they were sexist? 
In sorting out these dilemmas, the politics of power became extremely 
complicated. It became a struggle between class, gender, and sexual 
orientation. And class lost. By virtue of the power (even if somewhat 
limited) we had as middle-class professionals, we used the images and 
voices of working-class men to make our point — at their expense. In several 
instances, this meant that we used "bites" to articulate the film's position 




instead of a statement that would render a particular person's views more 
complex or ambiguous. In one scene we never hinted that the man who 
boasts, "Men can have 80,000 women, but women can't," said this with his 
wife's assent after the whole film crew begged her to give it. Or that, after 
saying that her church disapproved of homosexuals, the pentecostalist 
young woman quickly added, "My God, I must have sounded terribly 
prejudiced!" Through all such experiences and much retrospective think- 
ing, what I discovered was that power is the main issue in making any film 
or video: power to be able to gather the resources to make and later distribute 
and effectively exhibit the work, power to convince others— many of whom 
have nothing to gain from the experience — to participate, power to make 
decisions, and power to talk back to the screen after the film was completed. 

However, many of my fears about misrepresentation and unequal power 
relationships regarding the subjects of the film almost evaporated when 
AIDS in the Barrio finally was completed and we attended screenings. Both 
in screenings at community centers in the Puerto Rican community and 
other alternative media centers, we found that the people we wished to 
represent did feel well represented. Comments from participants, commu- 
nity activists, and family members affirmed that our struggle to adequately 
portray what we saw as the various contexts for the spread of AIDS « .is 
successful for these sectors of the community. This didn't mean. howe\ or. 
that everyone who saw the film felt that being gay was acceptable. 

As I continued to attend screening after screening, though, 1 became 
aware that the work hardly ever met with negative comments in Philadel- 
phia but received more criticism outside the city. Most of this criticism 
centered on the gay section, which some gay and lesbian acti\ ists saw as not 



MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



sufficiently empowering, since we did not feature a politically active gay 
spokesperson. Unlike Latino gay activism in other major US cities, notably 
New York, however, most Latino gay men and lesbians in Philadelphia are 
still very closeted, notwithstanding some individual exceptions. Additionally, 
several Latino mediamakers took issue with depictions of male Latino drug 
dealers and machos, because they thought this confirmed dangerous stereo- 
types when presented to a non-Latino audience. These critics believed the 
film could be used well with audiences in the community, but outside the 
work might function as a doubled-edged sword. A third, and important, 
criticism came from sectors of the white liberal community, including 
filmmakers, who believed that the commentary in AIDS in the Barrio is too 
didactic. This strategy was hotly debated within our production group, and 
our solution was a compromise. Some of us felt that this type of commentary 
was necessary, while others thought it would eventually limit the film, since 
some audiences might find the film preachy. 

The differences between these responses and those we encountered in 
Philadelphia are probably linked to the work's status as the first film in 
recent memory that presents Puerto Ricans in the city with images of 
themselves, related to the immediate concerns of their own lives — even 
when these images are partial. A woman who works in the Pennsylvania 
prison system noted that she had shown the film to 300 inmates; that they 
asked to see the film again and again because it was about them. At that point 
I understood that, in addition to the film's potential for AIDS education, it 
also represented an important step in creating the possibility for Philadelphia' s 
Puerto Rican community to make images about themselves. This was 
underscored at one of the community events, when a teenager asked us why 
we hadn't included the issue of pregnancy and children. We answered that 
despite the importance of these issues, we couldn't address everything in 
one tape. Her answer was revealing: "Then I'll make it. If these two women 
who are barely five years older than I am can produce a film, why can't I?" 

From these and other experiences, I have concluded that what makes 
AIDS in the Barrio community media is its reception and use. Because of 
our arrangement with the city of Philadelphia, all Philadelphia residents 
have a right to a free copy of the film, and many people have made an effort 
to obtain one and pass it on. Could AIDS in the Barrio or a similar work have 
been made another way and receive the same level of community support? 
Must all work on the project be community-based — from conception to 
distribution — to be a community film? Is it good enough if the work is not 
made in consultation with a community but is embraced by the community 
nevertheless? 

This is where the power of talking back is crucial. If the "communities" 
we belong to and/or work with had that power, most of these questions 
would be irrelevant. Both "insiders" and "outsiders" could produce media 
"about" any community, so long as the maker revealed her or his position 
in relation to that community. Tell us where are you coming from, and don't 
assume you are producing Film Truth. 

Frances Negron-Muntaner is a writer and mediamaker who lives in 
Philadelphia. 



What to We; 
(Because 1 



AC 



ELLEN SPIRO 



The world is in the early stages of a revolution that it has barely begun to understand. 
Recently, television has begun falling into the hands of the people. 

— Ted Koppel, Revolution in a Box, an ABC special 

Activists have been appropriating film and video tools for their 
own ends ever since they have been available, but during the current 
camcorder boom even more people are acquiring the tools and constructing 
their own representations. What follows is a sketch of how this new video 
activist movement, centered heavily on collective production, is happening 
and how you can be a part of the action. 

Why shoot activism? 

Besides being fun. stimulating, and personally fulfilling, video documenta- 
tion of activist events in the camcorder/VCR/public access TV age benefits 
the movements you care about and extends your issues to people who may 
lack alternative information. It gives you the power of self-representation, 
whether or not the news is covering a particular event. And the practical uses 
for documentation are extensive. 

COUNTERSUR VEILLANCE 

Historically video has acted both as a deterrent and a witness to violence. 
The phrase made famous at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in 
Chicago — "The whole world is watching" — may have even more relevance 
today with the proliferation of camcorders. Shooting a violent police 
officer's badge number and saying her or his name aloud into the camera is 
an effective technique to let the cops know that they, too, are being watched. 
During the Tompkins Square Park riots in New York City in 1988, video 
activists Clayton Patterson and Paul Garrin shot extensive footage of 
officers without badges beating anti-gentrification demonstrators, which 
they provided to TV news programs and the courts. This video documen- 
tation became an effective legal tool in prosecuting the officers and 
defending falsely charged demonstrators. 

In Atlanta, Georgia, healthcare advocates took over the office of a Center 
for Disease Control bureaucrat and demanded a change in the Center's 
definition of AIDS to include infections specific to women. One security 
officer repeatedly lunged at individuals and camcordists. Luckily, two 
camcordists were videotaping the protesters and each other, effectively 
keeping the cameras and tape from being illegally confiscated. Shut in the 
office with no mainstream press in sight, they recorded the only footage that 
would protect the activists. 

Analysis 
Camcorder footage contributes to a broader analysis of an event by offering 
an alternative to broadcast media's centrist view. It has the power to add a 
dimension to the chorus of voices heard, providing a platform for seasoned 
activists and concerned community members, rather than the same old 
authoritative experts giving their same old scripted raps. Community and 
activist documentation opens up the possibility of a diverse range of 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



on Your Video Activist Outing 
* Whole World Is Watching) 

ICORDIST'S MANIFESTO 




Latex gloves, such as this police officer is 
wearing at an ACT-UP demonstration, are a 
fashion no-no. 



speakers on a subject, countering the myth that there are only two sides to 
an issue. 

Empowerment 
Video activists get involved in events. So-called objective news gatherers 
tend to be uninvolved in the whole of an event and remain ignorant of the 
depth of issues, falling for ready-made media events and simplistic summa- 
ries. By being involved you can create media that is passionate, informed, 
complex, and empowering to the people in your movement. If press 
coverage and public reaction to an event becomes highly negative, an 
independent video corrective reminds participants that an action may have 
been successful even if it was not widely portrayed as such. Video is a form 



Courtesy Ellen Spiro 

of legitimation which ultimately is an empowering device. With insider's 
documentation, your group does not have to rely on mainstream media 
approval for legitimation. In fact, it is useful to consider what was not 
reported by the dominant press to analyze media coverage. 

What to wear 

What you wear to a demonstration is as important as the creative and 
technical elements of demo documentation. AIDS activists show off their 
fashion consciousness with a chant frequently shouted at latex-gloved cops 
who spread AIDSphobia with a tasteless fashion statement implying that 
AIDS is transmitted by casual contact: "Your gloves don't match your 
shoes. You'll see it on the news." If you are going to wear gloves to an 
action — a good idea in cold weather — wear wool or cotton, not latex. Also, 
get comfortable for a lot of running around. Prepare for being too warm or 
too cold by carrying a small backpack with some extra clothes. These can 
also be used to wrap up your camera if neccessary. 

How you dress may affect whether you can get past police lines. But there 
are times you may be blocked from an important moment whether you are 
perceived as a hardcore activist or as an ABC News clone, with or without 
credentials. In such cases you will need contingency plans. Invent some 
techniques and props to make the most of your mobility, like the camcorder 
boom pole — using a regular still camera monopod screwed into your 
camera bottom so that it can be hoisted high above crowds, police lines, and 
enormous press crews for a bird's eye view. It helps to have a rotating 
viewfinder that you can look through from a distance, but it can also be done 
without looking through the lens at all. 

Bigger is not neccessarily better. 

A small camcorder or "palmcorder" and a backpack give you tremendous 
mobility. You can climb onto vans, phone booths, or trees for wide shots. 
They also give you the option of participating in an action on many levels. 
With a backpack you can take breaks from shooting and demonstrate. If the 
event is well covered, you may find yourself battling with a 500-pound 
aggressive news crew for a shot. Instead of shoving them back (common 
behavior among news crews), crawl under their legs and squeeze around 
them or use the camcorder/boom pole method to shoot over their heads. 

Be your own Ted Koppel 

An anchorperson or correspondent acts as a valuable conduit of informal ion 
to viewers. In Athens, Ohio, Nan Merkyl, an elderly camcordist. shot a rainy 
protest at the Dugout Lounge, a bar where the Basic Animal Rights 
Coalition was demonstrating against bear wrestling entertainment shows. 
As an off-camera reporter, Merkyl humanized her footage with commen- 
tary and questions. At the Stop the Church demonstration at Saint Patrick's 
Cathedral in New York, when AIDS activists protested Cardinal O'Connor's 



MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 




opposition to condom distribution programs and the Church's prohibition 
against reproductive freedom, Ray Navarro arrived as everyone's favorite 
anchorsavior — Jesus — representing the Fire and Brimstone Network (FBN). 
Armed with an FBN microphone, this anchorsavior provided video activists 
with priceless news footage delivered by a guy who has an even higher 
reputation for delivering the Truth than Ted Koppel. 

Vehicular video 

Taking yourself seriously as a video interventionist may eventually require 
some sophisticated tools. In Buffalo, New York, the 8mm News Collective, 
a group of small format producers, acquired a cheap school bus. The 
collective follows mainstream news crews from their TV station to their 
destination with the mission of deconstructing their newsgathering process 
through documentation and intervention. They recently painted their bus 
chroma-key blue, so that if they are being pursued by authorities, they can 
simply push a button and disappear. 

Be prepared to get arrested 

If you are involved in a demonstration as a video activist, your agenda will 
be clear and the authorities may pick up on that and try to sweep you away. 
At other times, there is still the possibility that you will be arrested along 
with those participating in civil disobedience. One WHAM! (Women's 
Health Action and Mobilization ! ) video activist, Julie Clark, was documenting 
a clash between the WHAM! Clinic Defense and Operation Rescue anti- 
abortionists, who were blockading a health clinic. She was arrested, then 
thrown in jail with a pack of fetus fetishists singing religious songs off-key. 
So, before a demonstration begins, arrange for a friend to take your camera 
and tapes in case you are arrested. If that person is unavailable at the time 
of your arrest, hand the camera to someone you know or pack it in your 
backpack, keeping track of it if you go through the system. Remember, 
fearlessness is risky, but it will get you great shots. 




Documenting civil disobedience actions, such as 
WHAMI's Operation Ridiculous, lets arresting 
officers know that they, too, are being watched. 

Courtesy DIVA-TV 

A DIVA-TV press pass 

Courtesy DIVA-TV 

Credentials 

There are two kinds of press passes: 
official police passes issued by the 
city, which allow you to cross police 
lines, and organizational press passes, 
which could be anything from a self- 
created pass to an CBS News pass. 
Press identification does wonders for 
your mobility, but sometimes it can 
get you caught in a media trap. At the 
Stop the Church demonstration, the 
people who used their DIVA TV (Damned Interfering Video Activist TV) 
passes to get inside the church were herded to a tiny press area out of sight 
of the main event, a quiet "die-in" by 50 activists in the center aisle of St. 
Patrick's Cathedral. The press and media activists were only able to get 
shots of the few individuals shouting on pews. The most visually profound 
action of the day was not in view. However, the DIVAs who entered as 
church-goers got great footage from their pews. The footage of one video 
activist, Suzanne Wright, was aired on a national news station accompanied 
by a "courtesy DIVA" credit. 

Organize with other videomakers 

Information exchange among imagemakers and activists is vital. Video 
activists should organize among themselves, whether producing a collabo- 
rative project, looking out for each other at an event, or coordinating 
complete documentation. Organizing insures that important events get 
recorded. Video collectives like the Black Cat Collective in Jay, Maine, a 
labor activist group, and the Bay Area Coalition Against Operation Rescue 
in Berkeley are increasingly popping up. The Deep Dish Satellite Network 
and Paper Tiger TV recently coordinated the Gulf Crisis TV Project 
television series. This intensive effort involved anti-war videomakers from 
40 states, including such locales as Ashland, Oregon; Castlewood, Viriginia; 
Whitehall, Wisconsin; Ames, Iowa; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Bloomington, 
Indiana. 

As a result of camcorders, public access television, cable, and satellite, 
new forms of activist video and the outlets for it are expanding — and it is just 
beginning. Ted Koppel has every reason to be worried. Who will want to 
watch him during this expansive proliferation of grassroots, face-to-face 
media? 

Ellen Spiro is a videomaker and writer currently living in New York City. 
Her most recent work is DiAna's Hair Ego: AIDS Info Up Front. 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 




High Powered, 
Low Priced 



IARRY LOEW1NGER 



I 



N THE VIDEO WORLD, HI-8 IS THE BUZZ WORD. "IF YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT 

you are doing, you shoot hi-8 carefully and light adequately. You use a one- 
chip or, better yet, a three-chip camera. You can make your piece look like 
a more expensive production. Hi-8 democratizes videomaking." So says 
video/filmmaker David Leitner. Linda Mevorach, a director of commer- 
cials, mostly shot in 35mm, was drawn to hi-8 because she wanted to do 
personal projects. She recently explained that working in hi-8 meant she 
could do the camerawork herself. "It was something I could wrap my arms 
around and have complete control," she added. When I interviewed Jon 
Alpert of Downtown Community Television, he remarked, "If tomorrow 
we had to go to some remote location, I would seriously consider using hi- 
8." Shortly afterward, in the middle of the Persian Gulf air war, he took hi- 
8 equipment to Iraq. 

Hi-8 is an improved version of Sony's consumer 8mm video format. 
Most people are saying nice things, even lauding this format, a few are 
badmouthing it, but everyone is talking. The cameras are small — depending 
on the model, they can be tiny — the sound quality is impressive, and the 
picture quality can be surprisingly good. Most of all, the equipment is cheap. 
Even the top of the line hi-8 camera, Sony's DXC-327, which offers 700 
lines of resolution at 60 db signal-to-noise ratio, costs about $ 1 1 ,000 with 
deck, compared to the cheapest professional half-inch cameras, which start 
at $30,000. 

Sony, the central player in the development of hi-8, claims that the format 
should not be compared to half-inch, let alone one-inch equipment. Others 
outside of Sony are making claims that Sony itself shrinks from. When it 
comes to designing equipment, Sony has often become a victim of its own 
ingenuousness. In the early seventies, when Sony introduced three-quarter- 
inch video equipment, the manufacturer claimed it wasn't suitable for 
broadcast purposes. Very quickly, the broadcast video world proved Sony 
wrong. Years later, Sony introduced a cassette digital audio tape format 
(DAT), insisting it was for the consumer market. Consumers stayed away, 
but the professional audio world fell in love with DAT. Now we have hi-8 
video. It, too, was intended as a consumer format. Tell that to the networks, 
record companies, commercial directors, industrial videomakers, and, 
most of all, the documentarians who are eating up hi-8. Much of the 
news emanating from the Gulf war was shot on hi-8. Several segments 
of The 90' s, a recent independent magazine show on public television, 
were shot on hi-8. 

What is hi-8? What can it do for you? Like all other video formats, hi-8 
is helical scan. 1 Hi-8 video is recorded as a composite, color-under signal 
on special 8mm cassettes which are either metal particle or metal evaporated 
tape. 2 In the color-under recording process, according to Leitner, "As you 
begin to duplicate hi-8, color starts to fall apart. Anyone who has cut 




Video artist Kathy High chose hi-8 for her tape 
Not So Ancient History. 

Courtesy videomaker 

standard three-quarter-inch tape is aware of the blurring of reds. That is the 
result of the color-under system." Even though NTSC one-inch video is 
recorded as a composite signal, it does not suffer from this problem. Nor 
does Betacam, which is component video. To stabilize the video signal, the 
more expensive cameras have built-in time base correctors, making it easier 
to transfer. Depending on the complexity and/or cost of the camera, the 
audio is either AFM (hi-fi) or digital, mono or stereo. 3 The costly cameras 
generate time code, but — and this important — it is not SMPTE time code. 
For editing and release, most hi-8 users transfer their tapes to a larger format. 

There are several options for bumping up. Sony would prefer that you go 
to three-quarter-inch. According to Mel Porter, a marketing manager for the 
company, "We positioned hi-8 as an acquisition format for three-quarter- 
inch U-matic SP. Three-quarter-inch SP was designed in part to be the 
postproduction format for hi-8." What he is saying is that these two formats 
were designed for each other. You can shoot on hi-8 and transfer, edit, and 
release on this improved version of three-quarter-inch. 

Three-quarter-inch technology has been with us for some 20 years. While 
it now seems cumbersome and a little clunky, three-quarter was considered 
the height of portability, compared to two-inch Quad, then the standard 
broadcast and editing format. Once again Sony 's design skills overwhelmed 
their predictive ability. Two-inch Quad was soon replaced by one-inch 
helical. Three-quarter-inch, which Sony designed for the consumer market, 
became the standard off-line editing format. There are at least a million. 
possibly several million, U-matic machines in use around the world. In the 
eighties, as half-inch technology grew popular and other manufacturers of 
U-matics stopped making them, Sony's choice was simple: abandon the U- 
matic or improve it. The appearance of hi-8 provided the perfect opportunity 
for Sony to mate the miniature with the reliable. In Sonj 'seyes, if half-inch 



MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 





The Sony DXC-325 hi-8 camera (left) 
and EVO-9100 hi-8 camcorder 

Courtesy Sony 



equipment is for the broadcast world, then hi-8 and three-quarter-inch SP 
are for industrial users. 

SP improves upon regular three-quarter-inch video in several ways. 
Resolution is increased from 270 to 340 lines. The luminance frequencies 
are moved upward. This results in a 30 percent increase in horizontal detail. 
The upward shift also means that the luminance and chrominance frequen- 
cies are further apart. 4 Consequently, there is less interference between the 
two. Compared to digital and AFM audio tracks, which are buried in the 
video signal, the longitudinal sound tracks run parallel to the diagonally 
recorded video. They are accessible for frame to frame cuts. AFM tracks are 
not. AFM audio, while of superior quality, does not lend itself to editing. 
Moreover, to improve the existing U-matic audio tracks, Sony added Dolby 
C noise reduction to the audio circuitry of the SP decks. 

They also introduced a high energy oxide tape formulation instead of 
going directly to metal tape, which would have created compatibility 
problems. This makes SP compatible with regular three-quarter-inch equip- 
ment. Perhaps most telling about Sony's intended marriage of hi-8 and SP 
was the appearance of hi-8 recorder/players with a quasi-component output 
connector (the S connector), which is also available on U-matic decks. 
Although hi-8 is a composite signal, it can output a semi-component signal 
called YC that provides noticeably better quality video — better detail and 
picture rendition — than the normal composite output. 

Clearly, hi-8 is suited to a multitude of purposes and users with a 
range of budgets and needs. Ron Stanford directs medical and industrial 
tapes and films in Philadelphia. He recently completed a piece which, when 
he neared completion of the edit, he felt needed a few extra shots. He took 
his home Canon hi-8 camera and got the material. Since the show was shot 
on Beta SP, he merely bumped up the hi-8 pieces to Beta. To complete the 
project he went one more step to one-inch. Although he noticed the 
difference between the different sources, others could not. "The weak part," 
he added, "is when you are in high-contrast situations. There you know they 
are not from the same sources. You can tell the difference. However, if the 
lighting was pretty even and somewhat flat, the different formats blended 
surprisingly well." 

Like many others, Stanford uses his camera for scouting. Sony offers an 
editing deck, the EVO-720, for those who want to do their postproduction 
in hi-8. A scouting tape may require only light editing and then can be 
released in the form of a video memo. According to Porter of Sony, hi-8 
postproduction "is for people who don't have to go down many generations 
and who don't have to build an edit decision list. These are people who need 
the final product quickly." 

For many corporations, especially those that are media savvy, hi-8 is very 
attractive for the low end of their media production. Warner Brothers 



Records uses hi-8 for its press kits and even for some low budget music 
videos. When they shoot a video on hi-8 for eventual broadcast, they go the 
high end route. The source material gets transferred on the EVO-9800, a 
deck designed for cross format transfers, to the digital composite video 
format, D2. Off-line edit masters are made on three-quarter-inch. The D2 
copy now becomes the source. With time code on both three-quarter-inch 
and D2 it is easy to conform one to the other. John Beug, a Los Angeles- 
based Warner executive, has a hi-8 viewer sitting in his office. "It's an 
effective tool for us as a record company," he says. "I can send someone out 
to find out what the act looks like. Then I just review the stuff." 

One of the pioneers in the documentary and industrial end of hi-8 in New 
York City is Eric Solstein. When he first saw hi-8 a few years ago, he thought 
it looked better than Betacam. "After closely examining it," he decided that 
"it can be made to look nearly as good, but it will not replace Betacam from 
the point of view of quality. However, in a ratio of quality to cost and size, 
it beats out every other format." Solstein, like many hi-8 enthusiasts, is 
keenly aware of the downside in working in this format. 

The size of hi-8 is its greatest virture — and its greatest drawback. 
According to Solstein, "We are waiting for the engineering to catch up with 
the problems that the scale of the format introduces. When you say hi-band, 
you are talking about higher frequencies. These frequencies need higher 
writing speeds. More information requires a smaller head gap and very 
closely packed particles on your tape stock. Losing a little bit of particle has 
a correspondently greater impact on your image." All of this translates into 
the fact that using hi-8 in the professional realm requires precision in the 
operation of equipment that you shouldn ' t ask of consumer-based products. 
As a consequence, there are occasions when hi-8 just doesn't deliver. 

If size and quality are what attract users to hi-8, what happens when the 
equipment size increases exponentially in order to improve both image and 
sound quality? The new hi-8 three-chip cameras, like the DXC-325 and the 
DXC-327, are lighter than their Betacam cousins, but not much, and are 
similar to the larger cameras in most respects, including technical specifi- 
cations and physical features. For some, Solstein among them, the 
professionalization of hi-8 means something has been lost. "The size of ahi- 
8 camera," Solstein adds, "allows you to be a tourist. Your inhibitions, as 
well as the inhibitions of your subject, are much relieved by the lack of 
technology. Also, you can take a hi-8 camera and gaff it to something. If it 
falls off what have you lost? Not 30 grand. Hi-8 cameras are great because 
they are expendable." 

In the eighties, under the infuence of music videos and what the 
advertising world perceived as documentary film style, commercials gravi- 
tated towards an emphasis on imagery, design, feelings, and away from 
conventional narrative. The grain, the shaky image, the relentless editing 
structure — all of which might be called stylized reality — became the 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 





commerical film language of the last decade. Why degrade expensive 
35mm film when you have available a brand new, inexpensive technology? 
Bring up the new technology rather than drag down the old. Especially 
when, if hi-8 is used under the right conditions, it can be made to look like 
film. It didn't take long for someone to figure out that hi-8's deficits could 
be turned into attributes, but it wasn't easy convincing the agencies, who 
professed to be desperate to save money, that spending less might produce 
as good, if not a better, product. 

"I saw two converging points that would have to meet," claims commer- 
cial director John Bonanno. "One is a very inexpensive way to do high level 
work, intersecting with the the problem of economic recession where 
agencies and clients can no longer spend the money they have been 
spending. Sooner or later these two points would have to cross," he adds. 
Bonanno began his career shooting and directing documentaries. One day, 
after he had made the move to commercials, he visited a friend who was 
making industrials and experimenting with the then new 8mm format. He 
was struck right away with its possibilities, particularly the potential to ape 
the look of film without going through with the elaborate degradation it 
takes to make 35mm film seem grainy and fuzzy. Bonanno bought a camera 
and began shooting. He visited advertising agencies, championing 8mm 
and then hi-8. Initially they resisted. He next produced a couple of spots on 
spec. Finally, one agency took the plunge. 

I recorded sound on one of the first spots Bonanno did for broadcast. By 
then he had graduated to Sony ' s high end consumer camera, the V-5000. His 
friend, the industrial filmmaker, was shooting second camera with another 
V-5000 camera. There was a regular, if reduced, union film crew doing the 
things a crew normally does except in one area: lighting. In a sense, there 
was none. Instead of boosting the lighting throughout the day we were 
engaged in the game of shrinking it. A few cards were used to reflect or 
redirect the light, but no lighting instrument was ever employed. Later on 
Bonanno insisted, "In terms of content, working in hi-8 is different than 
shooting in a larger format. Because there isn't as much at stake the attitude 
of the agency is different. Though they are getting a high-end product the 
client is calmer, because he is not spending as much money. For the actor 
there is the possibility of a different kind of performance because there isn't 
as much going on around him. There is a greater opportunity for spontaneity. 
That's what filmmaking should be about." 
MAY 1991 



Sgt. Gordon Graham explains the impact of drinking on driving 
in Nancy Cain's California Highway Patrol, one of several hi-8 
tapes included in the public TV magazine program The 90's. 



An expatriate undergoes a hazing in Eric Solstein's hi-8 tape 
Expat Bangkok, shot with Sony's EVO-91 00 camera. 

Courtesy videomaker 




Hi-8 is the democratic alternative for videomakers. Almost everyone can 
afford it. By shrinking the cost and technical scrim between maker and 
subject it can bring the viewer in more intimate contact with the work. Hi- 
8 is both a means of recording information and, because of its cost and 
accessibility, a serious motivational tool for beginning the creative process. 

Larry Loewinger is a film producer, sound engineer, and journalist. 



Notes 

1 . The helical scan method records signal on videotape on the diagonal with a rotating 
(helical) head. Though the tape speed is moderate, the head spins at a very high speed. 
Consequently, a large amount of information can be recorded (written) on small 
cassettes. Remember the size of two-inch video reels? 

2. Composite video combines the luminance, chrominance, and sync signals in one 
area. Component video separates them on individual bands of the recording area of 
the videotape. The only common component video system in the United States is half- 
inch. Most people will agree that with half the image width half-inch Beta or Mil 
compare very favorably with one-inch composite. 

3. AFM means audio frequency modulation. This kind of analog audio is recorded 
within the video signal, making it difficult to edit. It does offer impressive fidelity. 
Hi-fi is the consumer name for AFM. 

4. Luminance, called Y, refers to the information in the video signal that is used to 
record brightness levels. It is also that portion of the video signal thai allows for 
compatibility between color and black and white. The chrominance portion of video 
signal, called C. provides the color information. 

THE INDEPENDENT 27 



BETWEEN IRONY AND EMPATHY 

Peter Rose's New Video Installation 



REGUIA PICKEL 



Film- and videomaking sometimes challenges 
one's creativity and courage. Artist Peter Rose 
literally walks a tightrope in his work. He recently 
scaled Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Bridge 
to shoot footage on a narrow cable pathway at 
dizzying heights for the opening piece of his 
commemorative video installation, Ben Franklin 
Dreams of His Immortal Soul (a current events 
reading room apparatus). Rose was one of six 
Philadelphia artists commissioned by the Electri- 




Peter Rose scaled the Benjamin Franklin 

Bridge in Philadelphia for a shot in his 

latest video installation, Benjamin Franklin 

Dreams of His Immortal Soul. 

Courtesy videomaker 



cal Matter Festival, a summer-long series of per- 
forming arts events and installations staged to 
commemorate the second centenary of Benjamin 
Franklin's death in 1790. 

Hosted by the 75-year-old Print Club of Phila- 
delphia, Rose's video work symbolizes the evolu- 
tion from printmaking, Franklin's original profes- 
sion, to the postmodern, electronic image envi- 
ronment. This was a sure sign that the festival, 
which drew its name from one of Franklin's 
papers on electricity, had succeeded in fostering 
local interest in the electronic arts. 



Benjamin Franklin was the focal point for all 
festival events and the subject of different bio- 
graphic interpretations by numerous artists, among 
them Nam June Paik, Ron Kuivila, and Joan 
Logue. Initially Rose approached his portrait in 
the deconstructive mode characteristic of his earlier 
work based on language. In the end, however, he 
arrived at an innovative homage to the breadth of 
interests of the founding father and statesman. 
The complex result is elegantly resolved in a 
three-channel, multi-monitor video installation. 

The Ben Franklin piece is the fourth in a series 
of installations by Rose, following Babel, Siren, 
and Foit Yet Cleem Triavith, where the monitors 
are placed in triptych formation. The central 
monitor represents "The Immortal Soul" itself, 
displaying a mock vertical flow of current in black 
and white. This is flanked by two monitors, which 
repeat a cycle of seven short stories relating to 
Franklin's life and work. Another tiny monitor is 
placed close to the viewer on a low table, in 
vertical alignment with the "Immortal Soul." It 
enlarges the triptych to a kite-like constellation 
and features a little girl flying a kite in stormy 
weather. This intuitive image anchors the piece, 
with the child literally holding the installation 
together by the thread in her hands. 

Rose likes the triptych as much for its formal 
aspects of balance and symmetry as for the "aura 
of spirituality" it lends to the display. "I find video 
installations more fulfilling than single channel 
pieces," says Rose, "since the added spatial di- 
mension enhances both my creative possibilities 
and the involvement of the audience." At the same 
time. Rose is weary of what he calls the "instal- 
lation game," in which venues often expect artists 
to furnish the equipment. Such a capital-intensive 
requirement effectively limits access to the instal- 
lation world for a great number of independent 
film- and videomakers. 

There are, of course, methods of raising money 
through grants and the sale of one's work. Rose, 
who is also a performance artist and heads the film 
program at the University of the Arts in Phila- 
delphia, supplements these different sources of 
revenue with occasional performances and lec- 
tures. Thus, he gets by with enough funds for each 
work-in-progress. Scarcity of means spurs in- 
ventiveness, and Rose has developed working 
methods that allow him to produce technically 
and aesthetically crafted work with basic equip- 
ment. The Franklin piece, for instance, was shot in 
half-inch and edited entirely in his home studio 
using Macintosh and Amiga computers. The 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



project was completed on a low budget in six 
weeks of intense production. 

With every work-in-progress, Rose collects 
extra footage and ideas that he incorporates into 
future pieces. Often he works on several projects 
at once to let themes interact and cross-fertilize. 
For new works, his ideas can be triggered by 
various stimuli — sound, light, color, text, speech — 
or by events in his personal life. Sometimes he is 
motivated by an obsession, an image or idea he 
pursues over a period of time, to introduce later in 
different shades and variations in a new piece. 

One such obsession is the bridge — as wit- 
nessed by the footage shot in his balancing act 
high above the Golden Gate span for one of his 
most successful works, The Man Who Could Not 
See Far Enough (1981). Then there was his most 
recent climb on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. He 
has also been obsessed with the labyrinth and its 
multiple allegoric references to the human brain, 
the womb, the voice, choices in life.... Most of 
Siren consists of a visual exploration of a maze set 
to narrations from the book Green Mansion, 
varying discordant voices and sounds. 

Another of Rose's obsessions is the eclipse 
phenomenon, which is staged in thepiece Benjamin 
Franklin Dreams of His Immortal Soul and al- 
luded to by circular framing and afterimages of 
the fading circle on the screen. A new obsession 
may well be in the making. Seeking to portray 
Benjamin Franklin Dreams of Erotic Bliss, Rose 
discovered the sensual quality of string. Accom- 
panied by Bach's Concerto for Three Harpsi- 
chords and intimately narrated passages (on busi- 
ness) from Poor Richard's Almanac, two hands 
carefully, sensuously guide strings into knots of 
various configurations against a backdrop of lush 
greenery. Like serpents gliding in a slow love 
game, these pieces of string take on a life of their 
own — a phenomenon which fascinates Rose. 

Rose clearly enjoys his independence to create 
personal pieces that are not necessarily tied to a 
particular trend in video art. He sees his work as 
"playful and passionate," reflecting his belief that 
"we all skirt the edge of nonsense all the time." 
The disadvantage of this choice is that his work 
does not fit established categories and has been 
little understood. Rose began his artistic career by 
analyzing structural relations in film, creating 
complicated multiple images inspired by David 
Hockney. Later, he applied this same structural 
approach to time in Analogies: Studies in the 
Movement of Time (1977) and Foil Yet Cleem 
Triavith (1988). The main body of his work, 
however, is devoted to the theme of language — a 
collection he calls Vox. This series includes Sec- 
ondary Currents and The Pressures of the Text 
( 1 983 ), Digital Speech ( 1 984), Babel and Genesis 
(1987), and Siren (1990). The Vox cycle was in- 
spired by the linguistic discipline of semiotics. In 
order to reveal the hidden subtexts of language, 
Rose decomposes speech into its acoustic, rhyth- 
mic, and visual components or sets up the verbal 
against the visual to create new meaning. If this 
sounds like a dry, analytical undertaking. Rose 

MAY 1991 



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Rose explores the sensual qualities of string in 

Benjamin Franklin Dreams of 

His Immortal Soul. 

Courtesy videomaker 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



manages to approach it with imagination and wit, 
employing innovative yet simple tricks to make 
his work entertaining and attractive — even for the 
uninitiated. 

Two tapes, The Pressures of the Text and 
Digital Speech, are performance pieces transferred 
to video. Rose still performs in his works — he 
makes frequent use of his vocal abilities, his face, 
and his hands — but is moving toward orchestrated 
pieces, where he directs rather than acts. He feels 
that the further removed from the action he is, the 
more spiritual his work becomes, a progression 
which may have spurred the evolution from single 
channel to installation pieces. 

In that sense, the work commissioned by the 
Electrical Matter Festival proved to be a successful 
experiment. While the theme restricted Rose's 
freedom in determining his own subject, it also 
offered him a complex subject to explore with a 
certain detachment. Although reluctant to do a 
video portrait at first. Rose says he was won over 
by Franklin's ingenuity. There is, no doubt, a 
certain affinity of character between the two men, 
which may be summed up as curiosity or inven- 
tiveness. Imagination is certainly a key word for 
Rose, who ended up taking a rather irreverent 
approach to historic portraiture. "I discovered that 
from the 'Index' to Carl Van Doren's biography 
of Ben Franklin one could construct a network of 
ideas, a typology of Franklin's profoundly varied 
interests and activities," he says. The color-coded 
"Index" is placed on a low table in front of the 
viewer, encouraging a projection of "a histori- 
cally-grounded pattern onto a set of contemporary 
images and to imagine Franklin as he might expe- 
rience the world now." 

With this approach, Rose manages to link past 
and present. He extrapolates a complex personality 
from a random selection of salient features in Van 
Doren's biography — "Research," "Invention," 
"Politics," "Mischief," "Electricity," "Women," 
and "Language." Alternating between irony and 
empathy — the two poles he distinguishes in life 
and art — Rose examines these key words in seven 
stories, all of which begin with "Ben Franklin 
dreams...." The complete 17-minute cycle is a 
centrifugal construction, a crossroads where all 
avenues Rose has explored earlier appear to merge 
and depart anew. 

Rose readily explains some of the "tricks" he 
used in his latest work. In Ben Franklin Dreams of 
an Instrument of Vision, a scientific device in- 
tended to show the convective flow of current was 
filled with ice to make it react to the cold tem- 
perature, producing a yellow and blue image of 
ultrasonic quality. Rose's electronically inflected 
voice identifies the image as "an infrasonic picture 
of the fetus," and points to different body parts and 

MAY T991 




signs of "neurological activity ." This piece, color- 
coded "Research," links past and present experi- 
mental activities. It accomplishes this by combin- 
ing a scientific instrument alluding to Franklin's 
electrical experiments with postmodern means of 
visualization. 

In Ben Franklin Dreams of Revolt, Rose in- 
troduces the concept of a "digital mouth," created 
by quickly opening a closed 
fist in front of a camera pointed 
directly at the sun. The concen- 
tric bursts of light are then set 
to rhythmically corresponding 
utterances to fashion a mouth, 
which articulates a rebellious 
manifesto. This piece is color- 
coded "Politics." 

Rose calls Benjamin 
Franklin Dreams of His Im- 
mortal Soul a series of juxta- 
positions devised to locate 
"intersections of the human 
voice and electrical phenom- 
ena." It is also an attempt at 
affirming the heroic from a 
postmodern, critical point of 



view. As in his earlier work, Rose seeks the 
balance between irony and empathy, which leads 
him to gently mock the relative inadequacy of our 
visual and verbal conventions of representation. 

Regula Picket is a freelance journalist and 
graduate student in media. 



The installation Siren is part 

of Rose's Vox cycle, which is 

indebted to the linguistic 

discipline of semiotics. 

Courtesy videomoker 




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MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



RENEE TAJIMA 



What Memphis Needs is a new 6-minute short by 
Alexis Krasilovsky , which contrasts the black and 
white cultures of Memphis, Tennessee. It is based 
on a poem written by the internationally renowned 
"prison poet" Etheridge Knight, written in the 
Free People's Poetry Workshop. The film provides 
a cross section of Memphis history and society, 
from white kids in a West Memphis parade 
throwing candy at black bystanders to a Bible 
reading in the Lorraine Mote! , from ponies running 
through the Memphis cottonwoods to a girl run- 
ning across the construction site of Mud Island, 
and from rock 'n' rollers to marquee lights on 
Beale Street. What Memphis Needs: New York 
Filmmakers' Cooperative, 175 Lexington Ave., 
New York, NY 10016; (212) 889-3820. 

Two Bay Area videomakers, Albert L. Marshall 
and Spencer Moon, have turned their tenure as 
artists-in-residence at the San Francisco County 
Jail at San Bruno into a video documentary en- 
titled Art from Jail. The 53-minute program 
demonstrates the impact of art and its expression 
on the inmates through interviews with jail staff, 
artists, and former prisoners and through the ex- 
amples of visual and fine art works produced by 
students in the program. An inmate named Mario 
talks about working with an acclaimed local actor 
on a performance piece, and his jail counselor 
talks about Mario's personal evolution. Writing 
instructor Gloria Frym reveals the process of 
seeing inmates become addicted to the pleasure of 
making art. And visual artists talk about tales of 
prisoners getting in touch with their native cul- 
tures beyond the prison walls. The jail arts pro- 
gram is sponsored by the California Arts Council, 
San Francisco Arts Commission Neighborhood 
Arts Program, and the San Francisco Sheriff's 
Department. Art from Jail: Ruth Morgan, Office 
of the Sheriff, Community Services Division; 
(415) 266-9500 or 841-4362. 



From the gutters and back alleys of New York 
City comes Shadows in the City, described by 
filmmaker Ari Roussimoff as "an endless night- 
mare of unforgettable , shocking horror. " The 105- 
minute black and white film tells the story of a 
former freak show barker named Paul Mills who 
returns to New York after travelling the carnival 
circuit for 20 years. He encounters a violent, 
chaotic, and decaying city, as well as tormenting 
visions of his father, who died a drunk, and brother 
and mother who committed suicide. Unable to 
find happiness or peace, Paul drifts towards death 
and awakens in a Faustian region between heaven 
and hell where he'll wander forever. Shadows in 
the City stars Craig Smith as Paul Mills and also 
features the last screen appearances of two leg- 
endary filmmakers, the late Emile de Antonio as 
the Mystic and the late Jack Smith as the Spirit of 
Death. Artist Ari Roussimoff wrote and directed 
the film. Shadows in the City: Ari Roussimoff, City 
Shadows Productions, 347 W. 55th St., #6H, New 
York, NY 10019; (212) 307-5256. 

Florida videomaker Donald Delaney is starting 
production on The Message in the Mirror, a 
documentary about black history. Filmed on loca- 



tion at Zephyrhills Correctional Institution, the 
22-minute video will examine the educational 
issues faced by the African American community. 
Filming will take place on the prison grounds, 
featuring inmates, prison staff, and administra- 
tors, as well as "freeworld" guests including 
prominent black citizens from around the country. 
The Message in the Mirror video crew consists of 
Delaney, Arthur "New York" McComb, and Perry 
Mason, who plan to show the completed tape at 
the annual Department of Corrections of Florida 
Black History Month video presentation. The 
Message in the Mirror: Donald Delaney, Box 5 1 8, 
Zephyrhills, FL 33539. 

The video and multimedia artist Miroslaw 
Rogala has created a new video wall display for 
the City of Chicago that celebrates local design 
talents. Chicago Designs: Fashion, Photogra- 
phy, Architecture interweaves these elements 
into a coherent whole. Along with the exhibit by 
the same name, Rogala's video wall was dis- 
played at the Chicago Public Library Culture 
Center from October through December of last 
year. Commissioned by Chicago ' s Department of 
Cultural Affairs, Rogala accompanied several of 



The Harmonikeys warble a tune in 

Alexis Krasilovsk/s six-minute film 

What Memphis Needs. 



Courtesy filmmaker 




32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



the city's most prominent fashion photographers 
to capture the atmosphere and excitement of their 
working methods. For Chicago Designs, the artist 
digitized about 1 ,500 images using the new Trek 
DigiView program on the Amiga computer. Once 
digitized, the images were imported into the Elec- 
tronic Arts Deluxe Paint III program to colorize, 
.tint, and paint. With Mindware International's 
PageFlipper FX program, Rogala animated the 
images, which were then recorded directly from 
the Amiga computer onto three-quarter-inch SP 
videotape for on-line editing and processing. 
Quantel Paintbox graphics and Mirage digital 
video effects were added to enhance and upgrade 
the look of the Amiga graphics. Chicago Designs: 
Fashion, Photography, Architecture: Joel Botfeld 
or Darrell Moore, Outerpretation, 1524 S. Peoria, 
Chicago, IL 60608; (312) 423-2953. 

The experience of community video producers 
in Bolivia is documented in Making Waves: 
Popular Video in Bolivia, by videographer Karen 
Ranucci. The 30-minute program interweaves 
clips of videotapes made by these producers with 
footage showing them at work. A group of 
shoeshine boys documents the lives of people in 
their community using video as a tool to "give a 
face to those who are faceless in society." An 
independent video production company produces 



daily Quechua language news and cultural pro- 
grams that are broadcast to thousands of Quechua- 
speaking Indians. A cooperative association of 
Bolivian videomakers pool their labor and equip- 
ment to make tapes that "defend their culture" 
against the foreign influences that penetrate their 
society. Making Waves is being distributed in 
conjunction with the Democracy in Communica- 
tion package of tapes made by Latin American 
independent and community video producers. 
Making Waves: Popular Video in Bolivia: Inter- 
national Media Resource Exchange, 124 Wash- 
ington PL, New York, NY 10014; (212) 463- 
0108; fax: (212) 243-2007. 

From August 1988 to December 1989, New 
York City spent over $ 1 -million destroying homes, 
harassing homeless people, and terrorizing the 
Lower East Side with police violence. In Paul 
Garrin's video By Any Means Necessary a two- 
year chronicle of confrontation and conflict un- 
folds between the city of New York and its police 
force, and housing activists, homeless people, and 
squatters battling for fair housing. Shot entirely 
on video 8, the 30-minute documentary witnesses 
police rioting in Tompkins Square, an arson fire 
burning out of control as the fire department 
stands by, the forceful demolition of squatter 
buildings, the ravaging of Tent City in Tompkins 



Square Park by parks officers and police, and the 
eviction of homeless activists from an abandoned 
school. By Any Means Necessary: Video Data 
Bank, 37 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL 60603; (312) 
899-5172. 



ATTENTION 
AIVF MEMBERS 



The In and Out of Production column is a 
regular feature in The Independent, designed 
to give ArVF members an opportunity to 
keep the organization and others interested 
in independent media informed about cur- 
rent work. We profile works-in-progress as 
well as recent releases. These are not critical 
reviews, but informational descriptions. 
AIVF members are invited to submit de- 
tailed information about their latest film or 
videotape for inclusion in In and Out of 
Production. Send descriptions and black 
and white photographs to: The Independent, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor., New York, NY 
10012; arm: In and Out of Production. 



©II 



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The Suffolk County 

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Call for Entries 
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1991 



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This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Kathryn Bowser, director of the FIVF 
Festival Bureau. Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement. Since some details 
change faster than we do, we recommend 
that you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or tapes. 
In order to improve our reliability and 
make this column more beneficial to 
independents, we encourage all film- and 
videomalcers to contact FIVF Festival 
Bureau with their personal festival 
experiences, positive and negative. 



Domestic 

AMERICAN CHILDREN'S TELEVISION FESTIVAL/ 
OLLIE AWARDS, Oct., IL. Estab. 1985, fest awards 
"overall excellence in television for children." Any 
program type or length, except classroom programming, 
produced specifically for children 2-18, broadcast or 
cablecast in previous 2 yrs. Format: 3/4". Entry fee: 
$160. Deadline: June 30. Contact: David Kleeman, 
American Children ' s Television Festival, 1 400 E. Touhy , 
Ste. 260, Des Plaines, IL 60019-3305; (708) 390-8700; 
fax: (708) 390-9435; telex: 3718033. 

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE VIDEO FESTIVAL, Oct., 
CA. Ind. video artists are featured in variety of programs 
in test's 11th yr. Curated by group of ind. video 
professionals & activists. Last yr 80 hrs of video & TV 
in cats such as New Works, Video Glasnost, European 
Masterworks, Open Channels, Visions, Alternative 
Resolutions, Freewaves. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: June 
1. Contact: Ken Wlaschin, AFI Video Festival, 2021 
North Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027; (213) 
856-7771; fax: (213) 462-4049; telex: 3729910 FILM 
LSA. 

ASPEN FILMFEST, Sept. 25-29, CO. About 35 films 
shown annually in invitational showcase for ind. shorts, 
docs & features. Program incl. Short Subject Film 
Competition for ind. filmmakers living & working in 
US; films in competition must be under 30 min., 
completed after Jan. 1, 1990. $2,500 in awards. Entry 
fee: $25 . Format: 35mm, 1 6mm. Contact: Amy Egertson, 
Aspen Filmfest, Box 8910, Aspen, CO 81612; (303) 
925-6882; fax: (303) 925-9570. 

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 
1 1-25, IL. Now in 27th yr, fest one of largest US int'l 
competitive fests, programming films & videos produced 
in preceding 2 yrs. Cats: feature (midwest premieres), 
doc (arts/humanities, social/political, history /biography ), 
short subject (drama, humor/satire, films for children, 
experimental), student (comedy, drama, experimental, 
nonfiction, animation), ind. video (short, educational, 
animation, feature, experimental, music video), ind. 
video doc (arts/humanities, social/political, history/ 



biography), mixed film/video (short, doc, educational, 
animation, feature, experimental), educational 
(performing/visual arts, natural sciences/math, social 
sciences, humanities, recreation/sports), animation, TV 
production, TV commercial. Awards: Gold Hugo (Grand 
Prix), Silver Hugo, Gold & Silver Plaques, Certificates 
of Merit, Getz World Peace Award. Each yr features 
over 1 25 films from several countries, as well as tributes, 
retros & special programs. Entry fees: $25-225. Deadline: 
May 30. Contact: Entry coordinator, Chicago Int'l Film 
Festival, 4 1 5 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, JL 606 1 0-9990; 
(312) 644-3400; fax: (312) 644-0784; telex: 936086. 

HAWAII INTERNATIONAL FTLM FESTIVAL, Dec. 1- 

7, HI. "When Strangers Meet" perennial theme of 
noncompetitive fest showcasing works from or about 
Asian Pacific region that promote understanding among 
people of Asia, Pacific & US. All screenings are free to 
public & crowds of over 50,000 annually attend. Fest 
held at 10 locations on Oahu. From Dec. 8-14 travels to 
neighbor islands Molokai, Maui, Kauai & Big Island. 
About 50-80 films shown; features, docs & shorts 
accepted. This yr fest looking for films reflecting harmony 
w/ earth & love of land. Fest, formerly associated w/ 
East-West Center, now ind. nonprofit corp. Format: 
70mm, 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: July 1. 
Contact: Jeannette Paulson, Hawaii International Film 
Festival, 1777 East-West Rd., Honolulu, HI 96848; 
(808) 944-7666; fax: (808) 949-5578. 

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 3-10, CA. Now 
in 14th yr, noncompetitive fest growing to be well- 
known showcase for new discoveries of US ind. work & 
venue for int'l films. Last yr 50 films from 15 countries 
shown, many W. Coast premieres avail, for distribution. 
Features, shorts & docs accepted; program also incl. 3- 
day Videofest. Audiences over 22,000. Fest interested 
in works demonstrating commitment & dealing w/ social 
issues. Entry fee: $12 ($20 int'l). Format: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4"; preview on 1/2". Deadline: July 1. Contact: Mark 
Fishkin/Mary Pottier, Mill Valley Film Festival, Mill 
Creek Plaza, 38 Miller Ave., Ste. 6, Mill Valley, CA 
94941; (415) 383-5256; fax: (415) 383-8606. 

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. 20-Oct. 6, NY. As 
major int'l fest & uniquely NY film event, 29-yr-old 
prestigious, noncompetitive fest programs approx. 25 
film programs from throughout world, primarily narrative 
features but also doc features & experimental films of all 
lengths. Shorts programmed w/ features. Audiences 
usually sell out in advance & incl. major NY film critics 
& distributors. Press conferences after each screening 
w/ directors, producers & actors. Must be NY premieres. 
Presented by Film Society of Lincoln Center & held at 
Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. No entry fee; 
filmmakers responsible for round trip shipping fees for 
preview. Deadline: early July. Contact: Marian Masone, 
New York Film Festival, 140 W. 65th St., New York, 
NY 10023; (212) 877-1800, ext. 489; fax: (212) 724- 
2813. New address after May 2: 70 Lincoln Center 
Plaza, New York, NY 10023-6595; (212) 875-5610; 
fax: (212) 875-5636. 

VISIONS OF US, August, CA. 7th annual competition 
for nonprofessional videomakers, sponsored by Sony & 
American Film Institute. Works should express vision 
of the world. Cats: fiction, nonfiction. experimental, 
music video; special Young People's Merit Award 
(under 17 yrs). Grand Prize awarded; all prizes are 
equipment awards provided by Sony. Grand Prize, 1st 
place & Young People Merit Award winners flown to 
awards ceremony. Last yr 600 entries received. Judges: 
Debbie Allen, Kathleen Kennedy. LevarBurton, Johnny 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



Depp, David Byrne, Jerry Kramer, Tom Parks, Rob 
Reiner. Entries must be under 30 min. Format: 1/2", 
Beta, 8mm video. Deadline: June 15. Contact: Visions 
of US, Box 200, Hollywood, CA 90078; (213) 856- 
7743. 



Foreign 



CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, Sept., Canada. Open to nonprofessional 
productions. Showings held in several cities in Canada 
during autumn. Cats: amateur filmmakers; ind. 
filmmakers, preprofessional students of film. Awards: 
Best film, certificates; in 1st cat. addt'l awards incl. Best 
Canadian entry, scenario, doc, natural sciences, 
animation, experimental, editing, humor, teen 16-19, 
teen under 16. Max. running time: 30 min. Entry fee: $ 1 5 
Canadian. Format: 16mm, 8mm, super 8, 3/4", 1/2". 
Deadline: June 10. Contact: Ben Andrews, Canadian 
International Annual Film Festival, festival director, 25 
Eugenia St., Barrie, Ontario, Canada L4M 1P6; (705) 
737-2729. 

KELIBIA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF AMATEUR 

FILM, July , Tunisia. Biannual fest organized by Tunisan 
Ministry of Cultural Affairs in collaboration w/Tunisian 
Federation of Amateur Filmmakers. Program incl. 
competition open to selected amateur films, out of 
competition section, info section (video), tribute to a 
nat'l cinema, symposia & debates on cinema. Awards: 
Golden Falcon, silver medal, bronze medal, special jury 
award. Format: 16mm, super 8. Deadline: June 20. 
Contact: Mourad Ghram, International Amateur Film 
Festival, Box 116, 1015 Tunis, Tunisia; tel: (01) 280 
298; telex: 14 032 TN. 



LAUSANNE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILMS 
ON ARCHITECTURE AND TOWN PLANNING (FIFAL), 

Oct., Switzerland. Films w/central theme of architecture 
& urban planning accepted in cats of doc, fiction, 
animation. Entries must be completed in last 5 yrs. 15 
awards incl. gold, silver, bronze trophies & cash; Grand 
Prix, Award of State of Vaud, City of Lausanne, EPFL, 
Special Jury Award, ASFS, ASPEN, doc, fiction, 
animated, public award, 6 distinctions. Max. length: 60 
min. No entry fee. Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". 
Deadline: June 30. Contact: Georgel Visdei, Festival 
International du Film d' Architecture et d'Urbanisme de 
Lausanne, Escaliers du Marche 19, 1003 Lausanne, 
Switzerland; tel: (021) 312 1735; fax: (021) 206 509; 
telex: 454 199TxcCH. 



TURIN INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FTLM FESTIVAL/ 
CINEMA GIOVANI, Nov. 8- 1 6, Italy. Now in 9th yr, 
excellent competitive showcase for new, young ind. 
directors & filmmaking trends held in Torino in 
northern Italy ' s Piedmont region. US liaison Michael 
Solomon works w/ FIVF to preselect entries for 
several sections. Int'l Competition for Feature Films: 
35mm & 16mm Italian premieres by young 
filmmakers completed after Aug. 1 , 1 990. Short Film 
Competition: films up to 30 min. Noncompetitive 
section: medium-length films (30-60 min.), important 
premieres & works by jury members. Turin Space: 
films, videos & super 8 films by directors born or 
living in Piedmont region. Retro: English Cinema of 
'50s & '60s. Special Events: short retros, screenings 
of up & coming directors' works, reviews of 
significant moments in ind. filmmaking. Awards: 
Best feature film (lire 20,000,000); best short film 



(lire 3,000,000). Addt'l awards may incl. special jury 
awards & special mentions. Local & foreign audiences 
approach 35,000, w/ 22 nations represented & over 
165 journalists accredited to fest. About 300 films 
shown during event. Entry fee: $ 1 0, payable to Cross 
Productions. Formats: 35mm, 16mm only, preview 
on 1/2" or 3/4". Deadline: July 15. Contact: Michael 
Solomon, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th fl., New York, 
NY 10012; (212) 473-3400 or (212) 941-8389; fax: 
(212)941-1628. 



The AIVF/Facets Video Deal 

Facets Multimedia has a large 
selection of foreign, classic & 
independent films for rental by- 
mail. 

Now, Facets has 2 special 
offers for AIVF members 

1. A special 25% discount on 

membership rates ($15 for AIVF 

members) 

2. Or, two free rentals with Facets 

"critics" membership: Instead of 12 

rentals for $100, AIVF members get 

14 rentals. 

For an introductory set of discount 

coupons, contact ATVF at 

(212) 473-3400. 




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AFFILIATES 

LONDON • PARIS • MUNICH 




MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



Buy ■ Rent ■ Sell 



FOR SALE: Arriflex 16SR, very good condition. 
Angenieux T15-10B, Cine 60 battery belt, hard case. 
$8,500.(718)706-7223. 

FOR RENT OR EXCHANGE: Free use of either of 
following in exch. for city or rural place to stay: 3/4" 
Sony edit system (or $450-640/wk in own home); 
Betacam SP camera/deck (or $8-10,000 for half 
ownership or $450/day with operator). (212) 768-1600. 

FOR SALE: Dcegami HL55 camera w/ Ampex CVR5 SP 
on-board recorder & Fujinon 8.5xl4CCD zoom lens. 
Carefully maintained, quiet picture, low hours. $28,000. 
Don't hesitate. Ikegami HL95B camera, any reasonable 
offer. Call (212) 627-9120. 

THINK AHEAD: Room air conditioner for sale. Friedrich 
Powermiser. 6500 BTU/hr. Energy rating 9.4. In great 
condition. $375. Call Martha: (212) 473-3400. 

Freelancers 

THE NORMAN CORWIN DOCUMENTARY Program is 

developing an hour-long documentary exploring a 
residential program for homeless people with AIDS. We 
are seeking funds, in-kind donations, collaborators. Call 
Michel Milman (213) 654-8682. 

AWARD WINNING CAMERAMAN w/ 16mm ACL II 
looking for challenging projects. Partial client list: ABC 
Sports, IBM, LIRR, Pitney Bowes, Wilderness Society. 
Complete crews avail., incl. sound & grip pkgs. 
Reasonable rates. Call Mike (718) 352-1287. 

FULL VIDEO SERVICES: Bilingual (Spanish/English) 
producer/prod, manager/photographer w/ 1 7 yrs exp. in 
Europe/Japan/Central Amer. & US avail, for long/short 
term. Special rate can incl. entire broadcast pkg. Ethel 
Velez (212) 949-3824; fax: (212) 255-3447. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER looking for interesting projects. 
Owner of an Arri 16SR & other camera & lighting 
equipment. Reasonable rates. Call Ralph (718) 284- 
0223. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY avail, for dramatic 16 
or 35mm productions of any length. Credits include 
Metropolitan. Call to see my reel. John Thomas (201) 
783-7360. 

VIDEO PRODUCTION PKGS incl. camera, multi-format 
recording, tripod, lighting & audio accessories. 
Experienced camera person at reasonable rates. Also 
video transfers from 16mm, 8mm, photos & slides (w/ 
dissolve). (212)260-7748. 

CAMERAMAN w/extensive feature experience available 
for features, commercials & rock videos. Also owner of 
35 BL, SR, 3/4" SP & S-VHS. Lighting pkg & van. Call 
Tony at (212) 620-0084. 

I'LL KEEP YOUR BUDGET IN LINE. Experienced 
composer seeks film & video projects to score. Equipped 
to handle all your needs from sy nth/sample arrangements 
to live ensembles. Call John P.T. Morris (718) 383- 
6109. 

DOCUMENTARY CAMERAWORK. Richard Chisolm. 
Film or tape. International experience. Awards. PBS. 
Call for reel. (301) 467-2997. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Aaton XTR pkg 
incl. Zeiss, nikkor & video tap; avail, in the Pacific 
Northwest. Camera can rent separately. Call Lars: (206) 
632-5496. 



Each entry in the Classifieds column has a 
250 character limit & costs $20 per issue. 
Ads exceeding this length will be edited. 
Payment must be made at the time of 
submission. Anyone wishing to run a 
classified more than once must pay for 
each insertion & indicate the number of 
insertions on the submitted copy. Each 
classified must be typed, double-spaced 
& worded exactly as it should appear. 
Deadlines are the 8th of each month, two 
months prior to the cover date, e.g. May 
8 for the July issue. Make check or money 
order — no cash, please — payable to FIVF, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



BETACAM PACKAGE (regular or SP) w/ tripod, lights, 
mics, shotgun & van. Award-winning cameraman & 
crew avail. Fast & reliable. Broadcast quality. Call Eric 
(718)389-7104. 

CAMERAMAN W/ EQUIPMENT: Credits incl. 4 features 
(35 & 16mm), news & doc (CBS, BBC, PBS), ads & 
industrials (Citibank) & music videos. Owns 16mm & 
Betacam pkgs w/ lights, mics, crew & van. Personable 
w/ reasonable rates. Call for demo: Eric (7 1 8) 389-7104. 

REEL MUSIC PRODUCTIONS: Electronic and acoustic 
scoring for features, documentaries or any project. 
Innovative, experienced, flexible film/video composer 
in all styles of music. Arnie Bieber (212) 385-2879. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ European/Austral- 
ian background & over 10 yrs exp. avail, for film/video 
projects. (Especially interested in 35mm features.) Rates/ 
terms negotiable. Have reel, film & camera pkgs upon 
request. Miklos Philips (212) 713-5508, 24 hr service. 

BETACAM SP PKGS avail.: New BVW-507 (w/ 700- 
line resolution); BVW-505 also avail. Your choice of 
field production package comes w/ award-winning 
videogTapher, Toyota 4-Runner & competitive rates. 
Call Hal at (201) 662-7526. 

ENTHUSIASTIC YET LAID BACK cinematographer w/ 

solid commercial DP credits and big time feature 
operating experience seeks project with strong visual 
potential. Has gear. Call TW (212) 947-3366. 

COMPOSER w/ independent film & video credits for 
your production. Synthesizers w/ SMPTE lock for big 
"movie music" sound and/or acoustic instruments for 
intimate scenes. Audio/video demo. Whistling Lion 
Productions, Jim (718) 273-7250. 

JOSCRU PRODUCTIONS creativity workshop in 
Manhattan. Filmmakers, accompanied by screenplay, 
are invited. Financial and marketing assistance. Call 
(212)461-5372. 



THE SCREENPLAY DOCTOR: Professional consultant 
& story analyst for major studios will analyze your 
screenplay or treatment at reasonable rates. Speciality 
indie/art films. (212) 219-9224. 

BETACAM SP PKG avail, w/ experienced EFP/ 
documentary videographer. Negotiable rates. Call 
Evandro Fontes at (212) 727-2018. 

BETACAM SP & 3/4" PRODUCTION PKGS incl. Vinten 
tripod, monitor, full lighting, audio wireless & car. 3/4" 
editing with Chyron & digital effects. Video duplication 
to & from 3/4" & VHS. Call Adam (212) 319-5970. 

ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER avail, to film community 
to draft/negotiate/review contracts, handle legal matters, 
assist in financing. Reasonable fees (718) 454-7044. 

STEADICAM for film & video. Special rates for 
independents. Call Sergei Franklin (212) 228-4254. 

HESSION-ZIEMAN PRODUCTIONS Betacam & 
Betacam SP field production crew for documentaries, 
commercials, music videos, public relations, dance, etc. 
Sony BVW 507 camcorder with full lighting, sound & 
grip pkg. Experienced DP. Call (212) 529-1254. 

Postproduction 

BOB BRODSKY & TONI TREADWAY: Super 8 & 8mm 
film-to-video mastering w/ scene-by-scene color 
correction to 1", Betacam & 3/4". By appointment only. 
Call (617) 666-3372. 

TOTAL SUPER 8 SOUND film services. All S-8 
production, postprod.. editing, sync sound, sound mix, 
multitrack, single & double system sound editing, 
transfers, stills, etc. Send S ASE for rate sheet or call Bill 
Creston, 727 6th Ave., NY, NY 10010; (212) 924-4893. 

SUPER OFF-LINE RATE: 2 Sony 3/4" w/ RM 450 edit 
controller, mixer, mic, $15/hr, $100/day, $400/wk. 
Midtown location, quiet, comfortable, private room. 
(212) 997-1464. 

RENTAL OF 16MM & 35MM motion picture projection 
systems for screenings at your location; delivered, set up 
& operated. We do composite, interlock & process 
projection to SMPTE specs. Navestar Screenings, 217 
W. 21 St., NY, NY 10011. 

16MM EDITING ROOM & OFFICE space for rent in 
suite cf indies. Fully equipped w/ 6-plate Steenbeck & 
24-hr access. All windowed & new carpet. Located at 
W. 24th St. & 7th Ave. Reasonable rates. Call Jeff at 
Film Partners (212) 714-2313. 

3/4" OFF-LINE SYSTEM for rent. Cut at your location. 
Sony 9800/9850 decks (SP w/ Dolby & XLR output), 
RM 450 controller, Tascam 6-channel mixer w/ amp & 
speakers, 13" monitors w/blue & underscan, TC reader. 
Long/short-term rental. (718) 392-6058. 

SHOOT! Sony broadcast pkg for rent. Includes Sony 
DXC3000 CCD camera w/ Fujinon 1 2X lens, AC adapter 
& tripod. BVU-110 w/ AC & batts. Battery charger, 
Omni light kit, stands & mic. (718) 392-6058. 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound transfer facilities, 24-hr access. 
Downtown, near all subways & Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

COZY & CHEAP: 3/4" off-line editing room w/ new 
Sony 5850. 5800, RM440. $150/day. $500/5 day week. 
24-hr access, midtown location. Call Jane at (212) 929- 
4795 or Deborah at (212) 226-2579. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



BETACAM SP rental: Sony BVW-530, Sachler Video 
20, Lowell Omni-kit, Sony mics, $450/day. Same but 3/ 
4"SPorBetacam,$350/day.Ike730A&BVU110w/tc 
$175/day. Betacam or 3/4" SP to 3/4" SP cuts only w/ 
Amiga 2000 $50/hr. Electronic Visions (2 1 2) 69 1 -0375. 

OFF-LINE AT HOME! We will rent you 2 Sony 5850s 
with RM440 or RM450 edit controller and monitors. 
Low rates by the month, $650/wk. Answer your own 
phone and cut all night if you like! Call John at (212) 
245-1364 or 529-1254. 

COBBLE HILL OFF-LINE: Sony 5850 system $150/ 
day, $500/wk in comfortable apartment near downtown 
Brooklyn. Copier, fax avail. Call Fred at (718) 852- 
2643. 

3/4" VIDEO EDITING w/ "toaster." On-line w/ editor 
available. L.I., reasonable rates, flexible hrs. You've 
heard about it, now experience it ! High-end video effects 
on a low budget. Call Mona at Absolute Video (516) 
482-5322. 

S-VHS, 1/2" VHS industrial editing decks for rough cuts 
& dubs. Also, Alta Cygnus TBC w/ special effects & 
Amiga computer w/ graphics capability, $15/hr. Private, 
quiet facility in Greenwich Village. Call Bob (212) 473- 
7462. 

PROFESSIONAL 16/35MM NEGATIVE cutting & 
editing. 40 yrs experience. $3.50/cut. Student discounts. 
Super discount for 6 or more class films. Courier service 
avail. Northeast Negative Matchers. (413) 736-2177 or 
(617) 969-7247. 

3/4" OFF LINE EDITING DOWNTOWN for rent. 
Comfortable, private editing suite w/ new Sony RM450 
in convenient location. $ 1 5/hr, $ 1 00/day , $400/wk, $500/ 
wk w/ 24 hr access. New York Center for Visual History, 
(212)777-6900, x 314. 



AIVF REGIONAL 
CORRESPONDENTS 

AIVF has a network of regional correspondents 
who can provide membership information, hold 
meetings, and aid recruitment in areas of the 
country outside New York City. AIVF members 
are urged to contact them about AIVF-related 
needs and problems, your activities, and other 
relevant information and news: 

Howard Aaron, Northwest Film and Video Ctr., 
1219 S.W. Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205; (503) 
221-1156 

Cheryl Chisolm, 2844 Engle Road, NW, Atlanta, 
GA 30318; (404) 792-2167 
Dee Davis, Appalshop, 306 Whitesburg, K Y 4 1 858; 
(606) 633-0108 

Loni Ding, 2335 Jones St., San Francisco, CA 94 1 33; 
(415)474-5132;673-6428 
Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, 1752 17th St., NW, Washing- 
ton, DC 20009; (202) 232-69 12 
Deanna Morse, School of Communication, Grand 
Valley State Univ., Allendale, MI 4940 1 ; (6 1 6) 895- 
3101 

Lourdes Portillo, 981 Esmeralda St., San Fran- 
cisco, CA 941 10; (415) 824-5850 
Bart Weiss, 1611 Rio Vista Dr., Dallas, TX 75208; 
(214) 948-7300 



100% COMPONENT VIDEO IMAGING i 

On-Line Betacam SP Editing $240/hr. 

GVG 141 Editor, (2) Sony BVW-65 Players w/Dynamic Tracking, Sony BVW-70 Recorder, (2) Fortel CC-2 Color Correctors, 
GVG 100 Switcher, Sierra ChromaKeyer, Digital F/X 200 3D Effects, Paint & Typography w/4:4:4:4 Component Digital Quality, 
Bencher M2 Stand W/Sony DXC-3000 Camera, Soundcraft 200-BVE Audio mixer, Orban Umiter/Compressor, DAT, CD, 
Cassette & Turntable, Couches, Cappuccino & Cool! 

Betacam SP Field Production $700IDay 

Sony BVW-200 Camcorder w/Nikon S15x8.5 Lens, Sachler Video 20 Tripod, Shure FP-31 Mixer, (3) Lowell DP Lights 
w/Umbrellas, Samson Wireless Mics, JVC TM-22 Monitor, Ford 4x4 Truck w/Phone. 

3/4" Off-Line Editing $30/hr. 

Sony 5800 Player, Sony 5850 Recorder, Sony RM-440 Editor, Fairlight CVI Effects, Cassette, Tascam Mixer. 

3/4" Field Production $450/Day 

Sony DXC-3000 Camera w/Fujinon 12x Lens, Sony VO-6800 Deck, Bogen Tripod, JVC TM-22 Monitor, (3) Lowell DP Lights 
w/Umbrellas, Assorted Mics. 

Dv8video 738 Broadway, NYC 10003 212.529.8204 



16 m/m B&W REVERSAL 

processing & workprints 



16 m/m B&W NEGATIVE 

processing & workprints 



16m/mVNF 

processing & workprints 



S/8 E160A & G, B&W 

processing & workprints 



State of the Art Film 
to Video Transfers 



YALE LABORATORY, INC. 

1509 N. Gordon Street 

Hollywood, CA 90028 

(213) 464-6181 

(800) 955-YALE 

"We take S/8 and 76 m/m 

Film Processing 

Very, Very Seriously" 



EDITING ROOMS 



Sony 3/4" 
OFF LINE 



16 mm 

Midtown 

24-hour building 

330 West 42nd St. 

Great Rates! 



Richter Productions 
(212)947-1395 





Sam Edwards 

l=Mh£r];l 


& Associates 

21 1 East 43rd Street 

New York City 10017 

(212) 972-6969 FAX 972-6994 



MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



Conferences ■ Seminars 

AUTO-CENSORSHIP: The Chilling Effect After the 
Fact symposium: Sat., May 4 at the New School for 
Social Research. Cosponsored by Media Alliance, AI VF 
& New School. Artists, writers, curators, publishers, 
journalists, filmmakers encouraged to show & tell how 
they've been affected by or succumbed to censorship 
attempts. Contact: New School for Social Research, 
Media Studies Dept., 2 W. 13th St., New York, NY 
10011; (212) 627-9629. 

BOSTON FILM/VIDEO FOUNDATION workshops: 
Basic Video Prod., beg. May 7; Prod. Mgmt., May 18; 
Intro to Digital Video Editing, May 4 & 5; Interviewing 
Skills for Documentary Prod.; 2D Computer Animation, 
May 5; 3D Computer Animation, May 4; Computer 
Image Processing, May 18. Contact: BF/VF, 1126 
Boylston St., Boston, MA 02215; (617) 536-1540. 

CENTER FOR NEW TV workshops: Basic Video Prod., 
beg. May 1; Intro, to Videotape Editing, beg. May 14; 
Intermediate Editing, beg. May 6; Grantwriting, May 
1 1 . Contact: CNTV, 912 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 
60605; (312) 427-5446. 

FILM/VIDEO ARTS spring workshops: Intro, to 3/4" 
Video Editing, May 4 & 5; Advanced 3/4" Editing, May 
1 8 & 19; Am SR Workshop, May 4 & 5. Contact: F/VA, 
817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; (212) 673-9361. 

SOUND & IMAGES IN FILMS ON ART conference. May 
30 & 31, Univ. of S. California. Examines relationship 
of auditory & visual info. Participants incl. directors, 
composers, art historians, scholars, sound designers & 
engineers. Workshops on Music Composition, Using 
the Synthesizer to Simulate Scores, Sound Design, New 
Sound Technologies, Sound Mixing. Registration fees 
if postmarked by May 10: $50, $20 students; on-site 
$65, $30 students. Contact: Brenda Cathell, USC School 
of Cinema-Television, Los Angeles, CA 90089-221 1; 
(213) 740-2804; fax: (213) 740-7682. 

WOMEN MAKE MOVIES media workshops: Music 
Makes the Movie, May 11. Contact: Women Make 
Movies, 225 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012; (212) 
925-0606. 

YELLOWSTONE MEDIA ARTS summer workshops: 
series of 1-week workshops, lectures, discussions, 
exercises & screenings, June 1 7-July 25. Incl. Cinema & 
Social Change in Latin America, Grant Writing, 
Advanced Cinematography, Capturing the Images of 
Sounds of Culture, From Manager to Mogul: The 
Business of Making Films, Scriptwriting, Documentary 
& Endangered Cultures. Reasonable course fees & 
accomodation costs. Contact: Paul Monaco, Dept. of 
Media & Theatre Arts, Montana State Univ., Bozeman, 
MT 59717; (406) 994-6224. 

Films ■ Tapes Wanted 

CHIP TAYLOR COMMUNICATIONS, distributor of 
more than 325 exclusive titles, continually screens new 
documentaries on NTSC VHS or 3/4" for distribution 
consideration. Send to: CTC, 15 Spollett Dr., Derry, NH 
03030; (603) 434-9262. 

DIRECT IMPACT produces 30-60 sec. experimental 
public service announcements. Send treatment or 
storyboard to (new address): C-Hundred Film Corp., 
Box 423, Athens, GA 30603; (404) 353-1494. 

FESTIVAL ON TIBET looking for films and videos on 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others 
are included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length. Deadlines for Notices will be 
respected. These are the 8th of the month, 
two months prior to cover date, e.g., May 
8 for the July issue. Send to: Independent 
Notices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10012. 



Tibet &/or Buddhism. Fest will be held in New York 
City in October 1991. Deadline: June 1. Contact: Somi 
Roy or Zette Emmons, (212) 227-6895. 

NEW DAY FILMS, self -distribution coop for indepen- 
dent producers, seeks new members w/ recent social 
issue docs for US nontheatrical markets. Contact: Ralph 
Arlyck, 79 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. 

TAPESTRY INTERNATIONAL, distributor of inde- 
pendently produced docs, drama, music & performance, 
seeks new product to sell to foreign & domestic TV 
markets. Contact: Lisa Honig, Tapestry Int'l, 924 
Broadway, New York, NY 10010; (212) 677-6007; fax: 
(212)473-8164. 

WOMEN MAKE MOVIES, nation's largest distributor of 
films & videos by & about women, seeks acquisitions 
for 1991 catalogue. Especially interested in health, 
sexuality, black studies, Asian studies, Latinas, int'l 
perspectives, lesbian work, social issue doc & 
experimental work. Deadline: April 15. Send VHS 
cassette & written materials incl. synopsis to: 
Acquisitions, Women Make Movies, 225 Lafayette, 
Ste. 207; New York, NY 10012. 

Opportunities ■ Gigs 

RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS: Indo-US Subcommission 
on Educ. & Culture offers long & short-term awards in 
all academic disciplines for 1992-93 research in India. 
Scholars & professionals w/ limited or no prior experience 
in India especially encouraged to apply. Deadline: June 
15. Fulbright Scholar Program for 1992-93 offers grants 
for research, combined research & lecturing, or university 
lecturing. Deadline for Australia, South Asia, most of 
Latin America & USSR: June 15. Deadline for Africa, 
Asia, Europe, Middle East, Canada & lecturing awards 
in Caribbean, Mexico & Venezuela: Aug. 1. Contact: 
Council for Int'l Exchange of Scholars, 3007 Tilden St., 
NW, Ste. 5M, Box NEWS, Washington, DC 20008- 
3009; (202) 686-7877. 

INDEPENDENT FILM GROUP seeking screenplays from 
talented writers in all genres (no horror, please) for low- 
budget feature films ($200-250 range). Send 1 copy of 
script w/ contact info to: Philips/West, 304 Clermont 
Ave., Brooklyn, NY 1 1205-4606. 



INSTRUCTORS/VIDEOGRAPHERS:Summerpositions 

w/ Legacy Int'l to train youths, ages 14-18. Duties incl. 
instruction in video prod. & media, some program 
documentation. Located 4 hrs SW of Washington, DC. 
June 1 7-Aug. 22. Contact: Marlene, Legacy Int'l, Rte. 4, 
Bedford, VA 24523; (703) 297-5982. 

Publications 

FREE CATALOG from Chip Taylor Communications 
offers 326 film & video titles indexed in 41 subject 
areas, ranging from Arts to Zoology & highlights 74 
new releases. Contact: Chip Taylor Communications, 
15 Spollett Dr., Derry, NH 03038; (603) 434-9262. 

LIBRARY OF AFRICAN CINEMA: Guide to video 
resources for colleges & public libraries now avail, from 
California Newsreel. Contact: Resolution Inc., California 
Newsreel, 149 Ninth St. #420, San Francisco, CA 94103. 

NEW FUNDRAISING AUDIT GUIDE now avail, from 
Foundation Center: Raise More Money for Your 
Nonprofit Organization: A Guide to Evaluating and 
Improving Your Fundraising. $14.95 plus $3 shipping 
& handling. Also, Directory of New and Emerging 
Foundations and New York State Foundations: A 
Comprehensive Directory now avail. Contact: Founda- 
tion Center, 79 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10003; (212) 
620-4230. 

NFB FILM GUIDE: Productions of the National Film 
Board of Canada from 1939 to 1989, incl. 8,000 film- 
listing. Special prepublication price until May 1 5: $ 1 80 
US for orders outside Canada. The price thereafter: 
$240. Contact: Nat'l Film Board of Canada, Customer 
Services, D-10, Box 6100, Sta. A, Montreal, Quebec, 
Canada H3C 3H5; fax: (514) 283-7564. 

Resources ■ Funds 

APPARATUS PRODUCTIONS, w/ NYSCA support, 
offers production & completion grants up to $5,000 to 
emerging filmmakers who have not received NYSCA 
funding. Super 8, 16mm or 35mm low-budget 
noncommercial films that explore alternative approaches 
to narrative prefered. Also $5,000 Bill Sherwood 
Memorial Award to filmmaker sharing Sherwood's 
commitment to humor, drama & engagement of sexual 
politics in her/his work. Deadline: May 15. Send SASE 
for appl. to: Apparatus Productions, 225 Lafayette Street, 
Rm. 207, New York, NY 10012. 

CPB TELEVISION PROGRAM FUND announces 
multicultural programming solicitation for development 
& production of 58 min. programs for nat'l public TV 
broadcast. Proposals may be submitted in 3 areas: 
children's & educational, news & public affairs, w/ 
drama. Producer& directormust be minorities. Deadline: 
August 15. For guidelines, contact: Multicultural 
Programming Solication, TV Program Fund, CPB, 901 
E Street, NW, Washington DC 20004-2006; (202) 879- 
9600. 

DCTV COMMUNITY PROJECTS provides members w/ 
free or low-cost equipment for projects that positively 
impact communities by raising awareness of unexplored 
issues, opening new areas of artistic expression, increasng 
artists' visibility, or involving people in videomaking 
process. Deadline ongoing. Contact: Community 
Projects, DCTV, 87 Lafayette St., New York, NY 1 00 1 3; 
(212)966-4510. 

ELECTRONIC ARTS INTERMIX: New Equipment Loan 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY1991 






The Association 
of Independent 
Video and 
Filmmakers 



JZ/\ien you join the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, you're doing something for yourself — and for 
others. Membership entitles you to a wide range of benefits. 
Plus, it connects you with a national network of independent 
producers. Adding your voice helps us all. The stronger AJVF 
is, the more we can act as advocate for the interests of inde- 
pendents like yourself — inside the corridors of Washington, 
with the press, and with others who affect our livelihoods. 



'X Setteftte o£ ^Met^ 



HE INDEPENDENT 

Membership provides you with a year's 
;ubscription to The Independent. Pub- 
lished 10 times a year, the magazine is 
i vital source of information about the 
ndependent media field. Each issue 
iielps you get down to business with 
lestival listings, funding deadlines, ex- 
hibition venues, and more. Plus, you'll 
ind thought-provoking features, 
•overage of the field's news, and 
egular columns on business, techni- 
al, and legal matters. 

HE FESTIVAL BUREAU 

JVF maintains up-to-date information 
>n over 650 national and international 
estivals, and can help you determine 
vhich are right for your film or video. 

icdson Service 

JVF works directly with many foreign 
estivals, in some cases collecting and 
hipping tapes or prints overseas, in 
•ther cases serving as the U.S. host to 
slsiting festival directors who come to 
!>review work. 

*ape Library 

lembers can house copies of their 
/ork in the ATVF tape library for 
creening by visiting festival program- 
lers. Or make your own special 
creening arrangements with ATVF. 

^FORMATION SERVICES 

distribution 

' 1 person or over the phone, ATVF can 
-rovide information about distributors 
nd the kinds of films, tapes, and 
markets in which they specialize. 



ATVF's Member Library 

Our library houses information on dis- 
tributors, funders, and exhibitors, as 
well as sample contracts, funding ap- 
plications, budgets, and other matters. 

SEMINARS 

Our seminars explore current busi- 
ness, aesthetic, legal, and technical 
topics, giving independent producers a 
valuable forum to discuss relevant 
issues. 



BOOKS AND TAPES 

ATVF has the largest mail order catalog 
of media books and audiotaped se- 
minars in the U.S. Our list covers all 
aspects of film and video production. 
And we're constantly updating our 
titles, so independents everywhere 
have access to the latest media infor- 
mation. We also publish a growing list 
of our own titles, covering festivals, 
distribution, and foreign and domestic 
production resource guides. 

continued 



r 




AIVF 

625 Broadway 
9th floor 
New York, NY 
10012 



ADVOCACY 

Whether it's freedom of expression, 
public funding levels, public TV, 
contractual agreements, cable 
legislation, or other issues that affect 
independent producers, ATVF is 
there working for you. 

INSURANCE 
Production Insurance 

A production insurance plan, tailor- 
made for ATVF members and cover- 
ing public liability, faulty film and 
tape, equipment, sets, scenery, 
props, and extra expense, is avail- 
able, as well as an errors and omis- 
sions policy with unbeatable rates. 

Group Health, Disability, and Lite 
Insurance Plans with TEIGIT 

ATVF currently offers two health 
insurance policies, so you're able to 
find the one that best suits your 
needs. 

Dental Plan 

Reduced rates for dental coverage 
are available to NYC and Boston- 
area members. 



'Kelp 'ty>unAe^^ 



DEALS AND DISCOUNTS 

Service Discounts 

In all stages of production and in most 
formats, ATVF members can take ad- 
vantage of discounts on equipment 
rentals, processing, editing services, 
and other production necessities. 

National Car Rental 

National offers a 10-20 percent dis- 
count to ATVF members. Write for the 
ATVF authorization number. 

Mastercard Plan 

Credit cards through the Maryland 
Bank are available to members with a 
minimum annual income of $18,000. 
Fees are waived the first year. 

Facets Multimedia Video Rentals 

AIVF members receive discounts on 
membership and mail-order video 
rentals and sales from this Chicago- 
based video rental organization. 

MORE TO COME 

Keep watching The Independent for in- 
formation about additional benefits. 



Join ATVF today and get a one-year 
subscription to The Independent. 

□ $45/indivldual (in U.S. & P.R.) 

□ (Add $15 for 1st class mailing) 

□ $85 /organization 

□ $60/library 

□ $2 5 /student (enclose copy of 
student ID) 

□ $60 /foreign 

□ (Add $18 for foreign air mail 
outside Canada & Mexico) 



Name 



Address 

City 

State 



Zip 



Country _ 
Telephone 



Please send more information on: 



Enclosed is check or money order. 
Or, please bill my: □ Visa 

□ Mastercard 

ACCOUNT # 
EXPIRATION DATE 
SIGNATURE 

Charge by phone: (212) 473-3400. 



Five thousand members strong, 
the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers has been 
working for independent produce 
— providing information, fighting 
for artists' rights, securing 
funding, negotiating discounts, 
and offering group insurance 
plans. Join our growing roster. 



MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES 

Individual membership 

10 issues of The Independent 

Access to all plans and discounts 

Vote and run for office on board 

directors 

Free Motion Picture Enterprises 

Guide 

Listing in the ATVF Membership 

Directory 

Organizational membership 

All the benefits of individual 

membership 

PLUS: Special expanded listing it 

the ATVF Membership Directory ai 

a free copy 

Discounts on the AIVF mailing li; 

Student membership 

10 issues of The Independent 
Free MPE Guide 

Listing in the student section of 
the ATVF Membership Directory 

Library/Institutional 
membership 

All the benefits of individual 

membership 

PLUS: Special notice of upcoming 

publications 

Back issues of The Independent 





I hate television. 
I hate it as much as 
peanuts. But I can't 
stop eating peanuts.' 




Orson Welles 






VDI Gives Great 
Quotes Too. 

And Great . . . 

• Duplication in all formats 
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• Off-line editing 

• Film-to-tape transfers and 

color correction 

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Phone 212-757-3300 




VIDEO DUB INC. 

423 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019(212)757-3300 

A Video Services Corporation Company 




Choose Your Format 

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>r Information and Applicatio 
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Media Alliance 
f, 356 West 58th St., New York, I 




mmsHMBaam 

Publications on Distribution Now Available 
from AIVF Publications 



The Next Step: Distributing 
Independent Films and Videos 

Edited by Morrie Warshawski 

A co-publication of the Media Project 

and the Foundation for Independent 

Video and Film 

$19.50 

The AIVF Guide to 

Film and Video Distributors 

By Kathrun Bowser 

a co-publication of the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film and the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers 

$19.50 

Alternative Visions: Distributing 
Independent Media In a Home 
Video World 

By Debra Franco 

A co-publication of the American Film Institute 

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and Film 

$ 9.50 (AIVF and AFI members) 

$12.95 (all others) 



i/Joi/'wi/ SPECIAL OFFER! 



Leading professionals provide answers to 
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Handy profiles of over 230 nonprofit and 
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handled, primary markets, relations with 
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A report to the field on the current state of 
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AIVF Publications 
625 Broadway, 9th Floor 
New York, NY 10012 
(212) 473-3400 



Service provides high-quality video equipment for long- 
term, low cost rentals to artists & nonprofits for use in 
public video exhibitions & installations. Contact: EAI, 
536 Broadway, 9th fl., New York, NY 10012; (212) 
966-4605; fax: (212) 941-6118. 

EXPERIMENTAL TV CENTER Residency Program 
offers artists opportunity to study techniques of video 
image processing during 5-day intensive residency. 
Deadline: July 15. Also provides Presentation Funds of 
small grants to nonprofits to assist w/ presentation of 
works of audio, video & related electronic art. Deadline 
ongoing. Contact: ETC, 180 Front St., Owego, NY 
13827; (607) 687-1423. 

FILM IN THE CITIES offers production grants up to 
$16,000, Encouragement grants up to $3,000 & works- 
in-progress grants up to $7,000 to emerging & mid- 
career film & video artists in IA, MN, ND, SD &WI. 
Free grants info, workshops. Deadline: May 9, 1991. 
For info. & appl. contact: Margaret Weinstein, Film in 
the Cities, 2388 University Ave., St Paul, MN 55114; 
(612)646-6104. 

INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION FUND: Regional 
fellowship program awards grants up to $5 ,000 to media 
artists in TX, OK, AK, MS, KS, NB, PR & US VI. 

Deadline: May 1. Contact: Southwest Alternate Media 
Project, 1519 W. Main, Houston, TX 77006. 

LYN BLUMENTHAL MEMORIAL FUND for Indepen- 
dent Video will fund video production & criticism that 
addresses theme of the Unlegislated Body. Fund 
encourages video projects that make inventive & strategic 
use of small format technologies. Grants range from 
$l,000-$3,000. Deadline: May 15. For appl., write: Lyn 
Blumenfhal Memorial Fund, Box 3514, Church St. 
Station, New York, NY 10007. 

NICHOLL FELLOWSHIP IN SCREENWRITING: Up to 

5 fellowships of $20,000 awarded to persons who have 
not earned money writing or sold or optioned screenplay 
or teleplay. Contact: Academy Foundation, Nicholl 
Fellowship in Screenwriting, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Box 
551 1, Beverly Hills, CA 90209. 

PIVFA SUBSIDY PROGRAM to facilitate completion of 
ind., noncommercial projects by members of PA 
Independent Film/Video Assoc. Grants range $500 to 
$1,000. Deadline: June 12. For complete guidelines & 
form,xaU (215) 895-6594. 

PROPOSED VIDEO GRANT: San Francisco Artspace 
offers artists access to video hi-8 equipment & audio 
facilities. Artists may request ass't for full project or 
only postprod. needs. Nonresidents of greater Bay Area 
eligible for travel & per diem honoraria of up to $2,000. 
Grants awarded to artists & ind. producers living 
anywhere for noncommercial videos in experimental, 
narrative, editorial/nonfiction & doc. Deadlines: May 1 

6 Sept. 15. Contact: San Francisco Artspace, 1286 
Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 626-9100; 
fax:(415)431-6612. 

STOCKHOLM ELECTRONIC ARTS AWARD of $ 1 ,800 
for video w/ electroacoustic music. Fee: $25. Deadline: 
June 10. Contact for appl.: Stockholm Electronic Arts 
Award, Svenska Rikskonserter, Box 1225, S- 111 82 
Stockholm, Sweden. 

WYATT SCHOLARSHIP FUND: Film/Video Arts offers 
full 1 -yr scholarships through Eugene Wy art Scholarship 
Fund to minority students. Film & video courses incl. 
prod., mgmt., writing, etc. Deadline: May 15. Contact: 
F/VA, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; (212) 
673-9361. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



PRO 
NO 



FIVF DISTRIBUTION BOOKS 



KATHRYN BOWSER 

FESTIVAL BUREAU DIRECTOR 



In 1990, National Video Resources, a project of 
the Rockefeller Foundation, awarded FIVF a grant 
to develop an information and referral service 
similar to our festival bureau which would focus 
on the distribution of independent films and vid- 
eos. An important component of the grant was 
support for FIVF's newest publication, The ATVF 
Guide to Film and Video Distributors. The new 
book, released at the end of February, was also 
supported by the John D. and Catherine T. 
MacArthur Foundation. 

This guide, whose first edition was published 
in 1984, was written to provide independent 
mediamakers with an overview of current infor- 
mation on distribution options. Based on the re- 
sults of a survey sent to over 500 commercial and 
noncommercial distribution companies in the 
United States, the indexed directory profiles over 



230 companies. Each company is described in a 
capsule portrait with pertinent statistical infor- 
mation and other details. The book is also indexed 
by category and genre and contains resource 
listings. 

Since the profiles do not analyze the companies ' 
services and reputations, we compiled, with the 
advice of a few independent producers and dis- 
tributors, a list of questions to guide independent 
mediamakers in discussions with potential dis- 
tributors and included these questions in the guide. 

The guide should prove to be an important and 
valuable resource not only for producers, but also 
for programmers, exhibitors, arts organizations, 
and educational and cultural institutions. It will 
complement FIVF's new individualized distri- 
bution information service. To use this service, 
producers are invited to call or write FIVF staff 
with questions about their distribution options. 
We are expanding our database on film and video 
distributors, as well as collecting information 
(catalogues, press clippings, reports, etc.) on 
various companies and can either provide infor- 



mation over the phone or printouts based on our 
database. Distributors are also welcome to send us 
news releases and information. 

Additionally, in March FIVF, in association 
with the American Film Institute, released Alter- 
native Visions: Distributing Independent Media 
in a Home Video World. This study examines the 
current state of distribution for alternative films 
and tapes, including the relationship between the 
institutional market of libraries, schools, and 
universities, and the consumer market. It also 
includes detailed case studies of the marketing of 
eight independent productions as well as resource 
lists of publications and organizations. 

These two books supplement other FIVF 
publications which are useful forproducers seeking 
distribution: The Next Step: Distributing Inde- 
pendent Films and Videos, and The ATVF Guide to 
Film and Video Festivals (now available as a 
photocopy, with an updated edition planned for 
early summer 1991). 



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THE INDEPENDENT 41 



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MEMORANDA 

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 44 



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He was ironic without being cynical, incisive 
without being derisive. His dedication to video 
came less as a twist on the false definitions of 
"artistry" and more from his commitment to his- 
torical identity because he was an artist. He had a 
private craving for Maya Deren and Luis Bunuel. 
And he loved DIVA's tape Pride '69-' '89. In his 
section of Pride, Dorothy gets pitted against the 
Wicked Witch while the head of a mainstream gay 
and lesbian rights group is shown in cahoots with 
Ed Koch. Ray's parallel cutting of "Poppies, 
poppies, now they'll sleep," with evidence of the 
crumbs tossed to queers in New York City tran- 
scends the specificity of location so that a viewer 
anywhere can get the picture. 

He videotaped wheneverpossible, documented 
a teach-in on clean needle use and AIDS activism 
immediately after he arrived in New York from 
Los Angeles, captured teenagers on camera doing 
improvisational theater work about AIDS in their 



own lives, taught a group in an after-school pro- 
gram both how to use the rig themselves and how 
to have safer sex, and explored the racist bu- 
reaucracy behind the intended failure of the city's 
first government endorsed needle-exchange pro- 
gram 

In the dream we never actually wrote anything 
I can recall, we just sat together feeling like 
writing together, debating, and busting up. But 
then he was still alive, although I never told him 
the dream. I wonder what he would say now. 

Catherine Saalfield is a media activist and writer 
living in New York City. 

MEMBERABILIA 

Congratulations to Richard Hankin and Tim Philo 
for This Is a Stand-Up, second place winner of the 
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences ' College 
Television Awards. Inside Gorbachev' ' s USSR, 
produced by David Royle, won the top Du Pont- 
Columbia Journalism Award, the Gold Baton, 
and Renee Tajima and Chris Choy picked up the 



UPCOMING FIVF SEMINARS 



May 4 

Auto-Censorship: The Chilling 
Effect After the Fact 

1- 4 p.m. 

Parsons School May Theatre 
5th Ave. at 13th St., NYC 
Artists, curators, publishers, 
journalists & filmmakers will show 
and tell how they've been affected 
by recent censorship attempts. 
Cosponsored by FTVF, the New 
School, Media Alliance & the 
National Coalition Against 
Censorship. Scheduled speakers 
include Donna Demac (Liberty 
Denied), Richard Curry (Freedom at 
Risk), PEN representative Edith 
Tiger (discussing the Mailer- 
Ginsberg banning). Moderated by 
Noreen Ash-Mackay. 
For more information or to 
participate, call Ash-Mackay: (212) 
627-9629. 

May 21 

Little Pictures: A Growing 
Market for Children's Media? 

7-9 p.m. 

Downtown Community Television 

87 Lafayette, NYC 

Cost to be announced 



Is there more room for independent 
producers in the growing youth 
media market? Panel discussion will 
include distributors and 
programmers for the children's and 
young adult market. 
Call AIVF: (212) 473-3400 for more 
information. 

June 8 

Freelancing as a Business 

9 a.m. - 1 p.m. 

TRS Professional Suites 

7 E. 30th St., Room F, NYC 

Cost: AIVF members $70, 

$90 nonmembers 

Arlyse McDowell and Teri Meissner 

will provide instruction on finding 

freelance work in television, film, 

and video. Practical advice for those 

interested in obtaining work and 

developing professional contacts. 

Call (212) 473-3400 to charge by 

phone 

A second session from 1:30-5 p.m. 

will be added, if necessary. 

AIVF members receive special 
mailings of most events. Watch 
your mailbox. If you're not an 
AIVF member, call (212) 473- 
3400 for more information. 



42 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



Silver Baton for Who Killed Vincent Chin ? Robby 
Henson's Trouble Behind has earned First Place 
at the Louisville Film Festival. The Lincoln Prize 

has been awarded to Ken Burns, producer of The 
Civil War. Congrats to AIVF member winners of 
the Paul Robeson Grants for Film and Video: 
Julie Gustaison, Abortion : Across the Barricades; 
Martha Wallner,A/2c horsAwayl; Mimi Pickering, 
Chemical Valley distribution; Lourdes Portillo, 
Fighting for Our Lives; Marlon Riggs, For My Own 
Protection; Pam Walton, Gay Youth; Bob Her- 
cules, Getting the News in Nicaragua; Adam 
Horowitz, Home on the Range; Louis Massiah, 
Home: W.E.B. Dubois and the Nationalist Idea; 
Barbara Trent, Invasion in Panama; M. Crenshaw 
and Carrie Oviatt, The Real Fish Story; Michael 
Lumpkin, The Celluloid Closet; Marlon Riggs and 
Reggie Williams, Tongues Untied distribution 
project; Gregg Araki, Totally Screwed; and Am- 
ber Hollibaugh and G. Reticker, Women and 
Children Last. 

EL SALVADOR 
CINEMATHEQUE SEEKS 
FILMS AND SUPPORT 

The University of El Salvador is in the process of 
creating a cinematheque and library of film and 
video. UES's secretary of international relations 
Armando Herrera recently contacted AIVF, ask- 
ing US mediamakers for help in acquiring the 
necessary resources. They are seeking four cat- 
egories of materials and aid: 

• Videos and video copies of all kinds of movies, 
from classic to current, feature to documentary. 
Materials in Spanish are best, but those in English 
are still useful. 

• Theoretical, practical, and critical written ma- 
terials, including books, manuals, magazines, and 
articles. 

• Equipment: VHS and video 8 cameras, decks, 
editing, sound, and playback equipment, etc. 

• Teachers, with Spanish-language skills. 

All materials should be sent to Steve Cagan, 
1751 Radnor Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44 1 1 8; 
(216)932-2753. 




Ballots for the AIVF/FIVF Board 
of Directors will be mailed to all 
members (excluding students) 
late in May. Please vote and 
return your ballots promptly. Help 
make sure the board reflects the 
diversity of our members. 



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AN AIVF MEMBER IS ONE IN A MILLION. 
LITERALLY. 

One in every one million people is an AIVF member. Use The AIVF Membership 
Directory to put yourself in touch with over 4000 individuals and organizations. 

Listings organized alphabetically within geographic regions — so you can quickly locate 
and contact media professionals in your area. Cross-referenced by skills — so you can 
easily assemble a crew, no matter where you're shooting. 

Order your copy by sending a check or money order or charging by telephone to your 
Visa/Mastercard: $9.95 for AIVF members; $14.95 for non-members. 

AIVF Publications, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012; (212) 473-3400, 



MAY 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 43 



SUMMARY OF THE MINUTES 
OF THE MVF/FIVF BOARD 
OF DIRECTORS MEETING 

The board of directors of the Association of Inde- 
pendent Video and Filmmakers and the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film held its 
quarterly meeting on January 12, 1991, at the 
organizations' office in Manhattan. Board mem- 
bers present were Eugene Aleinikoff, Adrianne 
Furniss, secretary Dee Davis, Loni Ding, chair 
Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, Lourdes Portillo, president 
Robert Richter, executive director Lawrence 
Sapadin, Jack Walsh, Bart Weiss, and treasurer 
Debra Zimmerman. 

Sapadin reported that FIVF has received a 
$60,000 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur 
Foundation grant, which will provide $15,000 for 
completion of office renovations, $15,000 for 
membership development, and $30,000 for hiring 
a development director. 

Managing editor of The Independent Patricia 
Thomson informed the board of the magazine's 
$33,000 grant from the New York State Council 
on the Arts, a slight increase over the previous 
award. 

Festival Bureau director Kathryn Bowser dis- 
cussed work with the Creteil Women's Film 
Festival and her coordination of the New York 
visits by representatives of both the Oberhausen 
and Sydney Film Festivals. She also outlined 
plans underway for the next edition of the AIVF 
Guide to Film and Video Festivals, and stated that 
the previous edition had almost sold out. 

Membership/seminars director Mary Jane 
Skalski reported that the membership count has 
increased to 4,889. She noted that the new produc- 
tion insurance plan offered through the associa- 
tion may account for the increase. 

Business manager/audio director Morton Marks 
reported that the financial status of AIVF has 
improved due to increases in membership. 

Larry Hall, representing the National Coalition 
of Public Broadcasting Producers, made a pre- 
sentation to the board regarding the negotiations 
between the Independent Television Service and 
the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Hall 
remarked that no contract had been agreed upon 
due to conflicting positions on CPB's role in 
approving the ITVS by-laws and rules governing 
board succession. Hall said AIVF has been a 
leader in the National Coalition and must continue 
in the future, especially during this transitional 
period. A committee to review the contract dif- 
ferences was constituted: Richter, Kim-Gibson, 
Aleinikoff, Davis, Sapadin, and Ding, who will 
make recommendations to the full board con- 
cerning AIVF's position in this matter. 

Regarding fundraising, Walsh recommended 
that, in the future, each board member make an 
annual commitment to raise a specified amount of 
money for the organization. 

In the wake of Sapadin ' s announcement that he 
is resigning as executive director, a transition 



committee was established, composed of Richter, 
Zimmerman, and FIVF board member Steve 
Savage. The board appointed Bowser as acting 
director, Martha Gever as interim advocacy direc- 
tor. A search committee was also set up: Kim- 
Gibson, Portillo, Weiss, and Richter, with Patricia 
Thomson representing the staff. 

FIVF LIBRARY LAUNCHED 

In December, AIVF renovated its offices to pro- 
vide a comfortable work space for members using 
our library and information files. A partial grant 
from the New York State Council on the Arts 
enabled us to start renovation and help from 
members allowed us to finish. The AIVF staff 
would like to thank all our members for your 
patience. We realize how difficult it was to reach 
us in December during renovations. We'd espe- 
cially like to thank the following members who 
contributed to the Members' Library: 

Library Sponsors: Archive Film Production 

Library Sustainers: anonymous, Skip Blum- 
berg, Jeff Bush, Renee Combes, Sian Evans, 
Lowell-Light Manufacturing, Elizabeth Mantis, 
Donald McKnight, Jr., Monica Melamid, Jon 
Oshima, Elise Pettus, Yvonne Rainer, and 
Christine Simone 

Library Friends: Frederic Fischer, David Royle, 
Mary Scott, and Peggy Stern 

Library Contributors: Martin Andrews, Deirdre 
Boyle, Matthew Boccaccio, David Carnochan, 
Skip Cronkite, Laurel Davis, Maria De Luca, 
Yvonne Dignaro, Venay Felton, Deirdre Fishel, 
Robert Freedman, Mark Gasper, Brenda Good- 
man, Daniel Klein, Bartholomew J. Lawson, 
Jack Levine, Deborah Matlovsky, J.W. Gregg 
Meister, Kathy Powell, Peter W. Rea, R.F. 
Reichman, James Schamus, and Ralph M. 
Toporoff. 

Library Buddies: Lynn Diedrich, Anthony 
Ferrandino, Judith A. Helfand, Jack Herman, Julia 
Keydel, Charles Steiner, and David Van Taylor. 



THANKS, WE NEEDED THAT 

When Governor Cuomo 's proposed cuts in the 
New York State Council on the Arts' budget were 
announced, AIVF sent out a mass mailing to alert 
our members to the news and to activate a 
grassroots lobbying effort to restore the budget. 
At the same time, we asked you to help cover the 
cost of this unforeseen and unbudgeted mailing. 
We'd like to thank those members who sent con- 



tributions: Benita Abrams-Hack, Vivien 
Bittencourt, David Blair, Tony Brown, Juan 
Downey, Film News Now Foundation, Deirdre 
Fishel, Susan Goldbetter, Marina Gonzalez, Kari 
Margolis, Bianca Miller, Pat Singletary, Alonzo 
Speight, Marc Weiss, and Joe Windish. 

Thanks also go to the AIVF members and 
others who have donated time to work on this 
issue: Sharon Greytak, Alice Martin, Irene Sosa, 
Robert Spencer, Mary Ann Toman, and Joan Van 
Haasteren. 

RAY NAVARRO: 1964-1990 

Editor's note: When we gathered the material for 
the collective tribute to Ray Navarro, a friend and 
colleague who died of an AIDS-related illness in 
November 1990, which we published in the March 
issue o/The Independent, Ray's close friend and 
frequent collaborator Catherine Saalfield was 
out of the country. We would now like to add her 
contribution to the others. 

CATHERINE SAALFIELD 



I had a dream about two months before he died 
that Ray and I were writing his obituary together. 
The dream was nonchalant: we were eating poppy 
seed bagels with too much cream cheese, and he 
was reclining next to me in front of the computer. 
We had done this so many times in our waking 
hours that the apparition felt utterly credible and 
the dream had all the trappings of Ray 's emotional 
presence — he was brilliantly serious, seductively 
personal, and fiercely ironic. 

He could be intimidating in his resolve; he 
wanted to cover all the bases and finish what he 
had started. And he never let a miscalculation get 
by. He thrived on theoretical speculation and 
disagreed with his sparring mates in the Whitney 
Independent Study Program as much as possible. 
We would sit together in seminars — him eating 
baba ganoush and Indonesian rice salad and me 
chain smoking — and we would bicker with the 
visiting artists about their narratives, their chosen 
media, or their clothes. Ultimately, he was always 
standing by Deleuze and Guattari. 

He took everything personally and made that 
part of his work. He loved ACT UP at the same 
time that he challenged each decision our 
"democratic" process brought us to. He got sick 
before the Latino/a AIDS Activist committee was 
formed, but it was his dream to build coalitions on 
his very identity. As a founding member of the 
AIDS activist video collective DIVA TV, he 
relished any outing with the troops, drilling them 
on the specific demo demands and videotaping in 
their faces while they were cuffed and dragged 
away. Afterwards, when he rested his equipment 
at his side, he could be seen — with a curled brow 
and taut lips — answering questions on camera for 
the network news. 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 42 



44 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1991 



NVI... 




The Most Powerful Editing Team in Town. 

(L-R) Paul Green, Jerry Newman, Abe Lhn, Art Dome, Kathy Schermerhorn, Rich Thomas, John Tanzosh, Dan Williams, 
Doug Tishman, Bruce Tovsky, Phil Fallo, Robert Burden, Phil Reinhardt, Barry Waldman, Phil Falcone, Sean McAll 



With the largest, most experienced and 
best equipped staff in town, it's no wonder 
that our editorial work has increased by 
50% in the last year. And it continues to 
grow. This year we'll be editing a new 
prime time network sitcom which is being 
shot in New York, and all of the material 
for inclusion in the Miss America Pageant 
in September. In the past year we've edited 
commercials for Mercedes-Benz, Grand 
Union, TWA, ShopRite, Oldsmobile, 
Contac, and A&rP as well as shows for HA!, 
Lifetime Medical, The Comedy Channel, 
Met Life, The Art Market Report, Toshiba, 
IBM, and LTV. 

And even in these difficult times, you'll 
find that we continue to improve the 
working environment for our primary 
customer, the independent producer who 
is working with his or her own money. On 
the culinary side, we added a better 
lunchtime menu, and cookies and fruit in 
the afternoon. On the equipment side we 
added five more D-2 machines, a Rank 
with Sunburst II for color correcting film 



and tape, an AMS AudioFile and audio 
recording booth, color cameras for the 7 
on-line edit rooms, and computerized off- 
line editing to the seventh floor. Speaking 
of floors, we'll be utilizing the second floor 
of our building on 17th Street for the first 
time in the coming year, bringing to a total 
of ten, the floors used for NVI customers 
and the necessary support services. 

In terms of equipment, you'll be seeing the 
introduction of the first all D-2 editing 
suite in New York City with the installation 
of The Abekas A-82 Switcher in Edit A this 
fall, as well as the the addition of the 
exciting new Digital F/X Composium and 
Wavefront 3D animation to our established 
electronic graphics department. 

And without knowing what our competit- 
ors are up to all the time, you can still rest 
assured that you are getting the most 
experience, the best equipment and the 
most accommodating service at the lowest 
possible price. If you want some help on 
your next project, call NVI! 



NVI 



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iWEPEWENr 



JUNE 1991 

VOLUME 14, NUMBER 5 



Editor: 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 

Art Director: 

Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Janice Drickey 
Mark Nash 
Karen Rosenberg 
Toni Treadway 
Patricia White 
Ruth Copeland 
Christopher Holme 
Laura D. Davis 
(212)473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ 07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published 10 times yearly by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 
625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212) 
473-3400, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational 
foundation dedicated to the promotion of independent 
video and film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade 
association of independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. Subscription is 
included with membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational and 
professional services for independents and the general 
public. Publication of The Independent is made 
possible in part with public funds from the New York 
State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment 
for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited manu- 
scripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned unless a 
stamped, self-addressed envelope is included. No 
responsibility is assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to 
the editor. Letters may be edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, Inc. Reprints require written 
permission and acknowledgement of the article's 
previous appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. The Independent is indexed in the 
Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 1991 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Kathryn Bowser, acting 
executive director, festival bureau director; Martha Gever, 
interim advocacy director; Mary Jane Skalski, 
membership/programming director; Morton Marks, 
audio/business manager; Stephanie Richardson, 
administrative assistant 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Eugene 

Aleinikoff, * Skip Blumberg (vice president), Christine Choy, 
Dee Davis (secretary), Loni Ding, Lisa Frigand,* Adrianne 
B. Furniss,*Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (chair), Jim Klein, Regge 
Life,* Tom Luddy,* Lourdes Portillo, Robert Richter 
(president), Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage,* 
Jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, Debra Zimmerman (treasurer) 

* FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1991 





COVER: in George Griffin's animated 
logo for the Comedy Channel, a snoozing 
pooch's taft flips the TV to the Comedy 
Channel, instantly transforming his 
environment from a humdrum living room 
to a wild tropicol forest with a Caribbean 
beat. Independent animators like Griffin, 
as well as documentary and feature film 
and videomakers, have found 
opportunities to produce work through 
such major cable networks as MTV, HBO, 
and the Discovery Channel. Larry Jaffee's 
"Hugged In Producers" in this issue 
provides a guide to the cable networks. 
Also featured is an inside look at the 
BBC's public access programming unit. 
Drawing courtesy George Griffin. 



FEATURES 

24 Plugged In Producers: A Guide to Working with Cable Networks 

by Larry Jaffee 

The Learning Channel 

30 Vox Pop: The BBC's Community Programme Unit 

by Fred Johnson 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

A Sign of the Times: The Collective for Living Cinema's 
Screen Goes Dark 

by Renee Tajima 

NEA Adversaries Stung by Poison 

by Patricia Thomson 

Picture Imperfect for Women in TV 

Finishing Fund Fuels Up 

by Mary Jane Skalski 

Thousands Vie for ITVS Mini-Millions 

by Tod Lippy 

Miller Brewing Toasts African American Filmmakers 

by Spencer Moon 

New Distributor Launched in L.A. 
Sequels 

12 FIELD REPORTS 

Ordinary People? A Debate on Blood in the Face and 
Documentary Methods 

byjennine Lanouette 

Preserving Yiddish Cinema: The National Center 
for Jewish Film at Brandeis 

by Karen Rosenberg 

19 LEGAL BRIEF 

Dirty Dancing: Lewitsky versus the National Endowment 
for the Arts 

by Sheldon Siporin 

22 TALKING HEADS 

Extremes in Everyday Life: Jeanne Finley on Jesus Sightings, 
Matricide, Museums, and Other Topics 

by Janice Drickey 

35 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

37 FESTIVALS 

by Kathryn Bowser 

39 CLASSIFIEDS 

41 NOTICES 

44 MEMORANDA 



JUNE 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 3 



A SIGN OF THE TIMES 

The Collective for Living Cinema's Screen Goes Dark 



On a recent Saturday, stalwarts of the Collective 
for Living Cinema got together for an unhappy 
task of spring cleaning. The 18-year-old indepen- 
dent film exhibition and training center will, in the 
words of board president Yvonne Rainer, dis- 
continue operations. No one will say that the 
Collective has closed for good, but it is vacating 
its facility at 41 White Street in downtown Man- 
hattan, and its future remains uncertain. 




Escalating rent and shrinking public funds have 
forced the Collective for Living Cinema in New 
York City to close after two decades. 

Courtesy Anthology Film Archives 



Founded by a group of filmmakers in 1 973. the 
Collective grew with the independent film 
movement. The group started with weekly film 
screenings at an Upper West Side church and 
filmmaking workshops in amidtown loft. In 1975 
the Collective moved downtown to Tribeca, 
converting a plastic tablecloth factory at 52 White 
Street into a full-fledged media center and theater. 
By 1 982 the Collective gained prominence beyond 
the New York independent community. WNET- 
1 3 produced an hour-long documentary. Ten Years 
of Living Cinema: The Uncommon Eye, and the 
Collective organized a seven-week festival. Ten 
Years of Living Cinema, which included over 1 30 
films showcased there between 1973 and 1983. 



the New York Times described it as "an assortment 
of the best American independent films ever 
made." 

If the Collective expanded with the indepen- 
dent movement, its demise also reflects the strains 
facing many media arts centers, especially in New 
York's recession economy. The Collective, an 
"urban pioneer" in the now gentrified Tribeca 
neighborhood, survived an acute crisis five years 
ago during the height of the city's real estate 
boom. It was forced to relocate when, in separate 
actions, the Department of Consumer Affairs and 
the Buildings Department cited the Collective for 
failure to fireproof the projection booth and having 
a faulty certificate of occupancy. But the organi- 
zation found new and improved — although con- 
siderably more expensive — quarters across the 
way at 41 White and was even able to expand its 
programming. 

But the high costs of maintaining the space and 
hard times eventually took their toll. Beginning in 
June 1989, the Collective had to temporarily relo- 
cate at Anthology Film Archives while their 
landlord began new construction on the upper 
floors of their building. There the Collective 
continued undaunted, mounting the successful 
How Do I Look? series of gay and lesbian media 
and using the time to upgrade the White Street 
theater to 35mm projection. It was over a year and 
a half before the Collective was able to move back 
in, and by then, according to executive director 
Nancy Graham, a number of factors converged 
against them. Just at a time when the Collective 
needed promotional dollars to reestablish itself in 
its own space, public funding was reduced at all 
levels, including a five percent cut from the New 
York State Council on the Arts and zero funding 
from the National Endowment for the Arts Media 
Arts program. As if that wasn't enough, a thief 
broke in, making off with valuable equipment and 
wounding morale. 

What could have saved the Collective? "It may 
be saving itself right now," says Graham, "with a 
radical reduction in spending and laying low for a 
while." According to Rainer, the board has decided 
to retain the Collective as a corporate entity. In the 
meantime, says Third World Newsreel executive 
director Ada Griffin, who organized the 1988 
Young, British, and Black series at the Collective, 
the city faces a vacuum in independent film ex- 
hibition. "The Collective was a different brand of 
people." explains Griffin. "They understood film. 
As curators they were very critical, and their 



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programs made an artistic statement. They took 
risks. But then, that's probably the reason they're 
no longer around." 

RENEE TAJ1MA 

NEA ADVERSARIES STUNG 
BY POISON 

It appears the wind has finally gone out of Reverend 
Donald Wildmon's sails, if Congress' lackadaisical 
response to the American Family Association's 
latest campaign against a federally-funded art 
work is any measure. In March, shortly before 
Congress began hearings on the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts as part of the annual appro- 
priations process, Wildmon sent a letter to legis- 
lators alerting them to "explicit porno scenes of 
homosexuals engaged in anal sex" in the "Homo" 
section of Poison, a feature film by independent 
producer Todd Haynes that received $25,000 from 
the NEA. Never having seen Poison, Wildmon 
quoted from a review in Daily Variety that re- 
ferred to "multiple glimpses of rear-entry inter- 
course and one of genital fondling" in the prison 
sequence of the film inspired by the writings of 
Jean Genet. (The Variety reviewer failed to note 
there are no shots of genitalia, and the sex and rape 
scenes are no more graphic than the average R- 
rated Hollywood film.) 

Two years earlier, a similar letter from Wildmon 
triggered the furor over Piss Christ, a photograph 
by Andres Serrano, who had received NEA 
funding. This time, however, Wildmon's cam- 
paign met a different reaction. NEA chair John 
Frohnmayer, who had waffled during earlier at- 
tacks from the religious right, took a strong stand 
in defense of the film. Quickly calling a press 
conference, he asserted, "[Poison] is clearly not a 
pornographic film." continuing, "The film illus- 
trates the destructive effect of violence and is 
neither prurient nor obscene.... It is the work of a 
serious artist dealing with a serious issue in our 
society." Haynes, too, defended the film during a 
blitz of interviews in the daily newspapers, on 
radio news shows, and on such television programs 
as Entertainment Tonight. Personalities, and 
Cable News Network's Larry King Live. 

The flap quickly subsided. Congress appar- 
ently was in no mood to pursue Wildmon's alle- 
gations, barely mentioning the letter when they 
questioned Frohnmayer during the subcommittee 
hearings on the NEA's annual appropriations. 
The acquittal last year of Cincinnati, Ohio's 
Contemporary Arts Center — which had been 
charged with violating obscenity laws for exhib- 
iting the work of Robert Mapplethorpe — by a jury 
of Midwesterners presumably helped stanch 
congressional fears of being labelled pornogra- 
phy supporters. In the end, the publicity only 
helped Poison at the box office. According to 
Variety, receipts for the first week were a healthy 
$41,511, garnered by a single screen at the 
Angelika Film Center in New York City. 

Although Wildmon may be down, he's not out. 
The indefatigable morality cop bought a permit to 



build a UHF television station in his hometown of 
Tupelo, Mississippi. His programming could go 
national via cable television if a satellite super- 
station picks it up. He's also equipped with a 
license for a radio station, which will start opera- 
tions soon. 

One organization that monitors the doings of 
Wildmon and his ilk is People for the American 
Way. In an effort to systematically track censor- 
ship cases as they occur, they have instituted a 
research and public education project called 
Artsave. Information on the sundry and dispersed 
attacks of the religious right against the NEA and 
the arts is collected through surveys and a toll-free 
phone number (1-800-326-PF AW). Four months 
into the project, which was launched in January, 
Artsave has confirmed about 40 censorship inci- 
dents, according to People for the American Way's 
Michelle Richards. Between five and 10 phone 
calls come in every day, she reports, some con- 
cerning specific attacks on free expression in the 
arts and others simply to express concern or get 
information. The various cases have been col- 
lected in a newsletter called Religious Right Up- 
date: Attacks on Public Sponsorship of the Arts, 
available through: People for the American Way, 
2000 M St. NW, Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20036; 
(202) 467-4999. 

Since the acquittal of the Contemporary Arts 
Center on obscenity charges, opponents of anti- 
obscenity language in arts legislation and NEA 
contracts have continued to fare well in the legal 
arena. In January, a federal court in Los Angeles 
struck down the anti-obscenity pledge that NEA 
grant recipients had been required to sign [see 
"Dirty Dancing" on page 19 of this issue]. The 
judge went further, however. Speaking to the 
issue of public sponsorship of the arts, he stated 
that a grant recipient should not be forced to 
forfeit his or her First Amendment rights when 
they receive public money. 

Another pending court challenge to obscenity 
restrictions on NEA grantees may benefit from 
this ruling. This suit targets the language in the 
NEA's reauthorization legislation that requires 
the NEA to consider "general standards of de- 
cency" in awarding grants. The plaintiffs' attor- 
neys argue it is constitutionally vague and dis- 
criminates on the basis of political viewpoints. 
This suit was added to an existing lawsuit filed by 
Karen Finley. Holly Hughes, Tim Miller, and 
John Fleck, the performance artists whose grants 
were vetoed by Frohnmayer last year despite 
recommendations by peer panels. The National 
Association of Artists Organizations and the Na- 
tional Campaign for Freedom of Expression have 
both joined the artists as plaintiffs. Representing 
the group is the American Civil Liberties Union, 
the Center for Constitutional Rights, and inde- 
pendent attorney Mary Dorman. 

Meanwhile the White House is giving the NEA 
the cold shoulder. In his proposed budget for 
1992, President Bush requested increases for the 
Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of 
Art. the Kennedy Center — all the government's 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1991 



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cultural agencies except the NEA. For the first 
time in its 25-year history, the NEA would receive 
less money than the National Endowment for the 
Humanities. Bush's budget allocates $178.2- 
million for the NEH compared to $174.1 -million 
for the NEA. There are signs, however, that Con- 
gress may be more sympathetic towards the arts 
endowment and increase its appropriations slightly 
over Bush's figure. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

PICTURE IMPERFECT FOR 
WOMEN IN TV 

Among the remaining bastions of white male 
dominance — the priesthood, Congress, tenured 
university faculty — the television industry is still 
hanging in there. A new report entitled What's 
Wrong with This Picture: The Status of Women on 
Screen and Behind the Camera in Entertainment 
TV puts hard facts to common knowledge: women 
are excluded from any real and substantive pres- 
ence, on- and off-screen. 

Based on a year-long study and published by 
the National Commission on Working Women of 
Wider Opportunities for Women and Women in 
Film, the report provides strong ammunition in 
the battle against industry sexism. Eighty enter- 
tainment series were surveyed during the spring 
of 1990, representing a total of 555 screen char- 
acters. The report's author, Sally Steenland, de- 
livers her findings in an effective matter-of-fact 
style that stings like statistical Scuds: e.g. "There 
are as many extra-terrestrial aliens on TV as 
Hispanic and Asian women and men. "Steenland's 
research results are illustrated in detailed graphs 
that give affirmative action ratings for on-camera 
portrayals of female versus male characters with 
regard to age, economic status, and race/ethnicity, 
as well as percentages of female executives, 
producers, writers, and directors. 

There are some bright spots in the picture. On 
screen, NBC's A Different World depicts an en- 
semble of intelligent young women, who also 
appear fully clothed. Offscreen, the series employs 
female producers at a rate of 7 1 percent, female 
writers 74 percent, and female directors a whop- 
ping 96 percent. But the industry norm is a far 
different world. Television portrayals of women 
characters over 40 are almost nonexistent, and 
titillation still rules. In the realm of creative and 
financial control, women writers on entertainment 
programs average 25 percent, producers 15 per- 
cent, and directors a paltry nine percent. 

In her study Steenland also attempts to estab- 
lish a context for this snapshot of industry statis- 
tics. Interviews with industry professionals sketch 
a picture of the barriers to penetrating the male 
club that still prevail. But the numbers detailed in 
the 81 -page report really tell the tale. Add this to 
your booklist, along with the 1 989 Writer's Guild 
of America Foundation report on minority and 
women hiring practices. What's Wrong with This 
Picture? is available for $20, plus $4 postage and 
handling from: Wider Opportunities for Women, 

JUNE 1991 



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FINISHING FUND FUELS UP 

Everyone wants to be in the film business — even 
Texas oil men. Milton Howe, chair of Houston 
Studios, and J. Hunter Todd, chair of the Houston 
International Film Festival, have rustled together 
a dozen oil businessmen who have committed 
$15-million for the creation of Cinema America, 
a source of finishing funds for independent feature 
films. 

The selected applicants will not just be handed 
a check. Instead, Cinema America will guarantee 
the producers a line of credit. The organization 
will also provide technical assistance, sign the 
checks, and supervise the film's completion — 
including finding adistributor. Cinema America's 
goal is to fund four to five projects a year. Todd, 
a former producer and director, and Howe are 
willing to look at tapes or films in interlock. 
Projects will be chosen because of their market- 
ability and will be given $50,000 to $ 1 -million for 
completion. Todd and Howe say they prefer ap- 
plications falling in the $250,000 range. In return, 
Cinema America partners will be the first out. 
receiving their initial investment plus a negotiated 
fee once the box office dollars begin to roll in. 

So far. Cinema America has received about 20 
submissions, mostly from California independents, 
but hasn't made any definite funding decisions. 
Administrators admit they are creating guidelines 
as they go through the initial submissions. Some 
films that initially seem ideal for funding already 
have a distribution agreement and committed first- 
out money, making them ineligible for Cinema 
America funds. Independent producers with a 
marketable film in the can and no distribution 
agreement can fax a script synopsis with a status 
report and a financial request to: Milton Howe 
(713) 228-3418 or J. Hunter Todd (713) 965- 
9960. 

MARY JANE SKALSKI 

THOUSANDS VIE FOR ITVS 
MINI-MILLIONS 

Even though everyone anticipated an enthusiastic 
response to the Independent Television Service's 
(ITVS) first general solicitation this spring, the 
overwhelming number of applicants has managed 
to exceed all expectations. A bumper crop of 
approximately 2,000 applications is now piled 
high in ITVS' St. Paul office, according to execu- 
tive director John Schott. 

ITVS will dedicate between $2- and $3-million 
to this batch of applications, out of the combined 
$ 1 2-million in production funds it is due to receive 
from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for 
FY 1 989/90 and 1 990/9 1 . Schott says that another 
general solicitation will take place this fall. Dur- 
ing the summer a "directed mode" solicitation 
will also go out to the field, calling for entries 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1991 



dealing with specific themes, determined on the 
basis of regional round-table discussions, phone 
and mail surveys, and statistical analyses of the 
applications received thus far. Individuals who 
applied to the general solicitation last March must 
draft a separate application in this category. 

To process the applications currently on hand, 
ITVS will divide the country into eight regions: 
the Northwest; California, Nevada, and the Pacific 
Islands; the Southwest; the northern Midwest; the 
industrial Midwest; the deep South; the Southeast; 
and the Northeast. Each area will be represented 
by one regional panel, except for California and 
the Northeast, which will each have two, owing to 
the disproportionately large number of applicants 
from these areas. The regional panels will select 
about 200 finalists, who will then undergo a 
national panel review. Panels will be composed of 
curators, educators, and independent producers. 
Not surprisingly, given the response to the general 
solicitation, almost two-thirds of the producers 
recommended for panels had to decline, since 
they applied for grants themselves. The final 
winners will receive grants ranging from $ 1 0,000 
to $300,000 for full funding. 

In other news from ITVS, two new board 
members were recently chosen to fill vacancies 
left by videomaker Ed Emshwiller, who died in 
July 1990, and American Playhouse executive 
director David Davis, who resigned last June. 
They are James Fellows, president of the Central 
Education Network, and Richard Schmiechen, an 
independent producer {The Times ofHar\>ey Milk). 
In addition, several more staff members are in 
place. The new director of business affairs is 
Kevin Martin, and filling interim posts are grants 
administrator Sheryl Mousley, business manager 
Kate Lehman, and administrative assistant 
Elizabeth Trumble. 

Finally, the contract between ITVS and the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been 
approved by both parties after a year and a half of 
on-going and often difficult negotiations, although, 
as of the beginning of May, it still has not been 
signed by CPB. According to its terms, control of 
the ITVS by-laws will be solely within the prov- 
ince of ITVS. This represents a victory for ITVS 
negotiators, as does the provision that administra- 
tive expenses will not come out of the $6-million 
earmarked for production funds. Rather, CPB will 
provide approximately $2-million in annual oper- 
ating costs. 

TOD LIPPY 

TodLippy is a filmmaker and writer living in New 
York City. 

MILLER BREWING TOASTS 
AFRICAN AMERICAN 
FILMMAKERS 

Twelve independent African American filmmak- 
ers were inducted into the Miller Brewing Gallery 
of Greats in Los Angeles in January. For almost 20 
years the Gallery of Greats program has recog- 



nized the achievements of blacks in different 
areas, including government, sports, and the arts. 
This is the first time that filmmakers have been 
selected. The honored filmmakers are Madeline 
Anderson, St. Clair Bourne, Charles Burnett, Ossie 
Davis, William Greaves, Charles Lane, Spike 
Lee, Michelle Parkerson, and Mel vin Van Peebles. 
In addition, Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, 
and Kathleen Collins Prettyman were awarded 
posthumously. 

In addition to an honorarium and trip to Los 
Angeles for the induction ceremony, each honoree 
is the subject of a portrait by Louis Delsarte, 
currently on exhibit at the California African 
American Museum in Los Angeles and scheduled 
for a national tour. The portraits also appear on the 
calendars, T-shirts, and sweatshirts produced by 
Gallery of Greats program. Proceeds have tradi- 
tionally gone to black educational programs. This 
year the recipient will be the Thurgood Marshall 
Education Fund. 

Many of these filmmakers have been and 
continue to be important pioneers — from 
Micheaux, whose filmmaking activities from 1918 
to 1948 created a distinct African American in- 
dependent cinema, to Lee, whose commercial 
success is challenging conventional wisdom in 
the film industry about audiences for all-black 
films and is opening doors for other black feature 
film directors. 

"We are breaking down barriers of not only 
discrimination, but of pure invisibility within the 
industry," attested documentarian Michelle 
Parkerson during the panel discussion Visions, 
Views, and Voices: Filmmakers Discuss Their 
Craft, which followed the portraits' unveiling 
ceremony. "My involvement in filmmaking was 
to broaden the context of how we define ourselves, 
to delve into the complexities of identities," 
Parkerson continued. "Men, women, and African 
Americans are not monolithic. My work has fo- 
cused on African American women artists and the 
way their experiences reflect the larger reality that 
we all live as Africans in this country. I want 
[audiences] to be challenged, to dialogue across 
lines [despite] different ideologies, or different 
references, or gender biases, or other biases that 
go across racial and sexual lines." 

Part of the function of the Gallery of Greats is 
the promotion of role models. In the case of this 
year's filmmakers, the awardees present positive 
examples both in their professional lives as di- 
rectors and in the content of their films. Early 
pioneers within the industry include Bourne, who 
was one of the staff producers at Black Journal, the 
first television series by, for, and about African 
Americans, which premiered on public television 
in 1968. One of his coworkers was civil rights 
activist Madeline Anderson, who was eventually 
promoted to series producer — the first black 
woman to hold this position. She later moved on 
to become the first black female to executive 
produce a television series. Infinity Factory, in 
1977. William Greaves, one of the originators of 
Black Journal and a prolific filmmaker, became 



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Once known as the only 

black settler on South 

Dakota's Rosebud 

Reservation, Oscar 

Micheaux is now often 

dubbed the father of 

black independent 

filmmaking. His portrait 

was recently included in 

the Gallery of Greats. 

Courtesy Miller Brewing Gallery 
of Greats 




the first African American to win an Emmy Award. 
St. Clair Bourne, for one, was aware of the 
national boycott of Miller Brewing being spear- 
headed by gay activists protesting the financial 
support that Miller's parent company, Philip 
Morris, has given Senator Jesse Helms. After 
talking to artists in his community as well as 
marketing director Noel Hankin and other black 
executives at Miller, Bourne says he "made a 
difficult but informed decision to participate." 
The program is particularly important, Bourne 
emphasizes, "because it is an accumulation of 
information on significant black artists in one 
place, and it is being done in the corporate main- 
stream." 

SPENCER MOON 

Spencer Moon is a filmmaker/writer who is cur- 
rently coauthoring a book on black filmmakers. 

NEW DISTRIBUTOR 
LAUNCHED IN LA 

Within a year of Prestige and Fine Line Features 
opening up shop, another new film distribution 
company handling foreign and independent fea- 
tures has been launched. October Films, based in 
the Los Angeles area, recently signed on its first 
production, Life Is Sweet, by British director Mike 
Leigh (High Hopes). October was cofounded by 
Jeff Lipsky, former president of the motion pic- 
ture division of Skouras Pictures, and Bingham 
Ray, a former vice president of marketing and 



distribution at Avenue Entertainment. Lipsky is 
the brother of Prestige head Mark Lipsky. 

Jeff Lipsky and Ray plan to distribute up to 
seven films a year. They appear to be, looking for 
a more diverse spectrum of films than either 
Miramax's Prestige division or New Line's Fine 
Line Features, both of which are New York City- 
based. October is seeking feature-length English 
or foreign language films which can be fiction, 
documentary, or "anything in between," black 
and white or color, "from 16mm to 70mm." As 
Lipsky remarked, the company is a "lean and 
mean operation" that will handle only those films 
that both partners feel are of the highest quality. 

Life Is Sweet (due for a November release) is 
the only film October is handling at this point, but 
Lipsky and Ray have begun scouting new work at 
festivals, consulting with producers and agents, 
and scouring production lists in various trade 
journals. Lipsky expects to begin signing other 
films at Cannes. He also is interested in hearing 
from independents with finished feature films 
who are actively seeking distribution. 

Asked about the significance of the company's 
name, Lipsky responds that both partners were 
born in October, but also adds, "October is the 
month of revolutions, and we expect our films to 
be unique and revolutionary in both form and 
content." 

For further information contact: October Films. 
Box 57647, Van Nuys, CA 91413; (818) 783- 
3200; fax: (818) 501-6605. 

TL 



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JUNE 1991 



SEQUELS 

Following their success with the Gulf Crisis TV 
Project, the Deep Dish TV public access satellite 
network is now trying to expand and solidy its 
base of regional correspondents and ability to do 
timely news shows ["Operation Dissidence: Ac- 
cess Producers Activate the Gulf Crisis TV 
Project," April 1991 ]. On an organizational level, 
the collective is working to turn its ad hoc regional 
bureaus in media arts centers, public access cen- 
ters, and other institutions into a more formalized 
network of program suppliers. On a programming 
level, Deep Dish telecast Anchors Away!, a pilot 
for this kind of ongoing activist news show, on 
May 20, which acted as both a fundraising tool 
and a vehicle to get word out to camcordists and 
potential correspondents. The next satellite 
broadcast is scheduled for the fall. "The Gulf 
Project was too much, too fast," admits Deep 
Dish's Martha Wallner. "While we've wanted for 
some time to be more responsive to current events, 
that project put the cart before the horse, because 
of the war." Still, increased visibility helped Deep 
Dish in its fundraising efforts. Grants were obtained 
from the Paul Robseon Fund and the Media Arts 
Development Fund. "Other funders have let us in 
the door," says Wallner. "The war really made 
them wake up about the media, because of the 
news censorship issue which everyone became 
more aware of." 



A number of staff changes are underway at the 
New York State Council on the Arts. In the 
Electronic Film and Media program, two of the 
four Program Analysts are leaving. Jerry Lindahl 
has moved over to another division within NYSC A, 
the State and Local Partnership Program. As of 
August, Linda Gibson will be working at Cali- 
fornia Ne wsreel in San Francisco as director of the 
African American Media Project. Due to 
NYSCA's budget crisis and hiring freeze, no 
replacements will be named. Also, Individual 
Artists Program director Linda Earle is now 
doing double-duty as interim director of the Visual 
Artists Program, following the departure of former 
VAP director Carlos Gutierrez-Solana, who 
resigned in order to pursue his work as an artist. As 
of June, the Independent Feature Project has a 
new executive director, Catherine Tait. She most 
recently served as director and cultural attache 
with the Canadian Cultural Center in Paris. Previ- 
ously she was arts promotion officer for the Cana- 
dian Consulate General in New York and man- 
ager of policy and planning for Telefilm Canada 
in Montreal. In Los Angeles Claire Aguilar has 
left the University of California at Los Angeles 
Film and Television Archive, where she was film 
programmer, to assume the post of manager of 
broadcast programs at public television station 
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THE INDEPENDENT 1 1 



ORDINARY PEOPLE? 

A Debate on Blood in the Face and Documentary Methods 



JENNINE LANOUETTE 



J\itei seeing Blood in 
the Face, I feel like 
not all controversial 
social issue 
documentaries have 
to present both sides 
of a very strong point 
of view. I think in this 
film it's the structure 
that presents the 
point of view. 

— Pam Yates 

In the interest of 
creating a more 
sensational film, the 
filmmakers have 
foregone including 
any comments that 
throw into relief the 
implications of the 
things the radical 
right is saying. 

— Don Derosby 

12 THE INDEPENDENT 



At its Sundance Film Festival premiere last Janu- 
ary, the documentary Blood in the Face, by Anne 
Bohlen, Kevin Rafferty, and James Ridgeway, 
immediately proved itself to be a film that elicits 
strong responses from viewers. After each 
screening, the question and answer session quickly 
turned into an active forum characterized by a 
stark polarity of opinion. The film focuses on a 
weekend convocation of neo-Nazis in the Ameri- 
can Midwest during which they barbecue ham- 
burgers, burn crosses, and give voice to their 
proudly racist rhetoric proclaiming, among other 
things, that the test of a true Aryan is in the ability 
to blush and thereby show "blood in the face." 
This diatribe is periodically interspersed with 
1950s archival clips of American Nazi Party 
founder George Lincoln Rockwell, footage of 
Holocaust victims, a television news segment on 
the murder of radio talk show host Alan Berg, and 
a speech by Louisiana State Senator David Duke 
juxtaposed with photographs of him in KKK 
robes and Nazi uniform. Although many viewers 
found the film's unadorned presentation of hate- 
mongering rhetoric informative and alarming, 
others were disturbed by the shortage of counter- 
balance to the subjects' baldly racist views. 

This pro and con discussion continued as the 
film began to circulate among exhibition outlets. 
Last December the New York City resource center 
on social issue film and video Media Network 
planned to include a clip from Blood in the Face 
in their Christmas benefit program until members 
of the host committee urged the organization's 
staff to see the rough cut and reconsider. After 
much debate, the staff reached the conclusion 
that, given the volatile nature of the subject mat- 
ter, showing a fragment would not give viewers an 
adequate opportunity to digest the material. In- 
stead, they suggested that the filmmakers show 
the entire film at a separate event, which never 
materialized. 

For the selection committee of the Sundance 
Film Festival, however, there was never any 
question but to show Blood in the Face, and its 
exposure there was favorably received. Not long 
after the festival, though. Marc Weiss, executive 
director of the public television documentary se- 
ries POV, which provided finishing funds for the 
film, withdrew it from the series' 1991 schedule 
after a near even split among members of the POV 
editorial committee on whether or not to air the 
film. Meanwhile, the film was receiving positive 
reviews in the press and playing theatrically to 
packed houses at New York's Film Forum. 



In order to shed light on the debate the film has 
sparked, a number of film professionals were 
asked to express their views. What follows is an 
attempt to create a public discussion among these 
people, some of whom played a part in the deci- 
sions affecting its exhibition. 



Lillian Jimenez, director of the National Latino 
Film and Video Festival and member of Media 
Network's Benefit Hosting Committee: I have a 
history with the film from when I was at the Film 
Fund and the filmmakers applied for money there. 
People on the funding panels were very interested 
in the film, but one of the issues that kept resur- 
facing was the lack of narration. The filmmakers' 
premise was that these fringe right wing groups 
would have an opportunity to speak for themselves 
and ultimately hang themselves with their own 
reactionary rhetoric. But the people on those panels 
were very concerned about the difficulty involved 
in trying to create the fine balance between putting 
what would be very odious points of view on the 
screen and getting these people to hang themselves 
by virtue of what they're saying. While the pan- 
elists wanted to respect the wishes of the film- 
makers, they were also very concerned about how 
much analysis the film would have concerning 
what the people were saying. 

Pam Yates, documentary filmmaker: I made a 
film 10 years ago, called Resurgence, about the 
Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party. In 
that film I did a parallel story of black women 
organizing in Mississippi and the Klan organizing 
in North Carolina, which is a more classical ap- 
proach. At the time, we talked about whether or 
not giving the Klan too much screen time would 
actually promote their point of view. 

After seeing Blood in the Face, I feel like not all 
controversial social issue documentaries have to 
present both sides of a very strong point of view. 
I think in this film it's the structure that presents 
the point of view. At first people laugh because 
they can't believe how weird these people are. 
Then it gets more and more serious until you see 
David Duke elected and you realize that the people 
who you thought were so funny are killers. The 
lack of narration offers an inside view, a fly-on- 
the-wall kind of look at who these people are. The 
filmmakers didn't want to use the classic public 
television documentary style. 

Don Derosby, executive director of Media Net- 

JUNE 1991 



work: My take on the film is that in the interest of 
creating a more sensational film the filmmakers 
have foregone including any comments that throw 
into relief the implications of the things the radical 
right is saying. I would never say that every 
documentarian should contextualize their com- 
ments. But I think that documentarians do have to 
look at the material they are dealing with and think 
about how it can be presented sensibly and re- 
sponsibly to an audience of various backgrounds 
and political dispositions. It seems to me that, 
given the sensitivity of this material, some context 
is in order, and I would have felt much more 
comfortable with the film had it been provided 
there. 

One scene in particular comes to mind with two 
women sitting on a seat in front of a window 
talking about why they identify with the movement. 
The whole scene is very heartfelt; you're really 
pulled in by the sincerity with which these women 
are expressing their views. What struck me about 
it is the fact that they use the need to be a part of 
a community as the logic for why they're in- 
volved. But the filmmakers do absolutely nothing 
to contextualize that information. Basically, this 
is a call to people to become part of a community 
in which your ideas will be respected, where you 
don't have to worry about what you say at the 
table. But there's a need to take that thinking to its 
logical conclusion, because this community is one 
which tells people it's okay to damage others. 

Harry Chancey, Jr., senior vice president and 
director of the Broadcast Center of WNET and 
member of the POV editorial committee: I am 
predisposed to feel positive about the film strictly 
on the basis of my own sense of "watch and never 
forget." It is not far different from the current use 
of the videotape of the Los Angeles Police Depart- 
ment which has also reminded people in such 
powerful ways that these things exist, though we 
might like to think otherwise. 

But I'm a broadcaster, so I look at the film not 
only in and of itself but also in the context of the 
broadcast medium. What I've been puzzling over 
is the appropriate way to show a film of this 
nature. Given the way people watch television — 
jumping around the dial and so forth — they might 
land on such a film without having made a con- 
scious choice to watch it, as they would have in a 
theatrical context, and be confused or angered or 
whatever. 

I did recommend to the filmmakers at one point 
that I was missing some sense as to the scope of the 
movement. What is this group? Where does it 
come from? For whatever reasons they decided to 
keep the film as we now see it despite suggestions 
and positive criticisms they received. But even 
without that narrative context, I still find the film 
extremely chilling. 

Deirdre Boyle, critic and instructor at the New 
School for Social Research: For me the power of 
the film is that it presents evil with its banal, even 
benign, face and shows it as the people living next 
door whocould be quite familiar and unspectacular. 



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Even the bonfire scenes in the film, which one 
.could so easily have turned into much more men- 
acing imagery, seem like a large barbecue. 

I think the film's strength is in the fact that the 
filmmakers' presence is not constantly calling 
your attention to a way of thinking about what 
you're seeing — this is terrible or this is wonderful 
by contrast. To present it as part of the American 
way does a service to the viewing audience, be- 
cause when something like this is shown as an 
aberration it is far easier for us to distance our- 
selves from the fact that it exists. To be able to 
reckon with it, we have to see it as part of the 
human experience. 

Jimenez: I think these people do come across as 
being human, and that's a credit to the filmmak- 
ers. But I don't know what it is they're coming out 
of to embrace this ideology. I remember this one 
scene with people dressed in Nazi regalia, and this 
young, attractive, blond woman with these really 
big blue eyes says, "I'm a computer program- 
mer." She seems very sweet and nice, but then she 
says, "I'm for the white people." And I remember 
thinking, "Why the hell is this woman involved 
with this? She seems to have a range of possibili- 
ties open to her. What's propelling her to embrace 
this ideology when superficially she seems so 
normal?" The film doesn't have a strong enough 
analysis to enable the audience to contextualize 
what these people are saying. 

Boyle: Those who say that the film does more to 
further the cause of the radical right than to coun- 
teract it are assuming that the viewing audience 
isn't capable of making any judgments. They are 
also assuming that the filmmakers' perspective 
doesn't come across in the film, and I think it does. 
It's not foregrounded, but it's not invisible either. 
And I think those people who would like the film 



to be more dogmatically critical are unwilling to 
recognize that maybe an audience that is not 
consumed with such issues would still be able to 
recognize the destructiveness inherent in the view- 
point of the Klan members. 

Yates: I'm from a coal town in Pennsylvania, and 
I think people there can be much more politically 
sophisticated than people in New York. So I don't 
believe that there is this average audience out 
there. What that implies is an uneducated audi- 
ence. I think people who are uneducated can 
sometimes be more politically sophisticated be- 
cause they think about their own interests more. 
People will make up their own minds. 

Derosby: The dichotomy is not between educa- 
tion and lack of education. The dichotomy is 
between people who read film with a fine-toothed 
comband can find that subtle nuance which throws 
everything else into a different light versus people 
who are used to watching television and have a 
very different approach to looking at media. This 
film, in trying to make sense of what these people 
are saying, uses a set of rather subtle gestures 
which are interspersed at rather large intervals. I 
think the question of how that's going to be read 
needs to be explored. 

The simple fact of the matter is that different 
people read this film differently. And given what's 
at stake, the well-being of millions of Americans 
who have been subjected to hate crimes, doesn't it 
make the filmmakers feel uncomfortable that their 
film is an open document that is subject to inter- 
pretation? Obviously, open documents have great 
virtues. But given the sensitivity of this topic, how 
do the filmmakers feel about creating an open 
document? 

Boyle: I think that argument perpetuates the dis- 
crepancy between television production aimed at 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1991 



Two members of the S.S. Action group 
attend a national gathering of the radical 
right in the controversial documentary 
Blood in the Face. 

Photo: Charlie Arnol, courtesy Right Thinking Productions 



1 2-year-olds and an intelligent style of documen- 
tary production. I don't think this is the best film 
that's ever been made; it has its limitations. But 
I'm just as fearful of proscriptive attitudes that 
would require that a particular stance be taken and 
a particular style be assigned to a filmmaker 
dealing with a subject like this. I think that that's 
just as dangerous. 

Jimenez: The film is very threatening. I don't 
think it's the same for white people. Their points 
of reference are very different. I think the film- 
makers went into this with the best intentions. 
They went into it to raise a discussion about 
racism in a way that has not been done before. But 
I think intentions are very different than strategy. 
And that keeps surfacing time and time again 
when you talk about racism — how insidious it is, 
how we operate out of these assumptions that get 
perpetuated through the media, through the popu- 
lar culture, and that we often don't question. 
That's what I feel the filmmakers didn't do, they 
didn't question their assumptions. 

Sylvia Morales, documentary filmmaker, faculty 
member at University of Southern California, and 
POV editorial committee member: I showed it to 



a class I teach at USC. And one of my students, a 
black woman named Rochelle, made a very per- 
ceptive observation. Her feeling was that these 
people were unimportant. She knew about them. 
To her they were just hicks; they were small time. 
It didn't make any sense to her to show them. She 
wanted to see a film that would show the people in 
power. She said, "There are a lot of people who 
have a lot of power, who are presidents of corpo- 
rations. But you never see the Ku Klux Klan robes 
inside their car trunks. Those are the people to 
fear." 

But there was disagreement from the other 
students in the class who hadn't experienced these 
kinds of people as she had. They were surprised to 
learn that this activity is going on. I agreed with 
both sides of the discussion. When Rochelle spoke 
I thought, "My God, she's so right. I absolutely 
agree with her." And then again I agreed with the 
other students who said, "Wait a minute, I would 
want to know about this." What the film brought 
out for me was the gap between the perception of 
racism for white and nonwhite people. 

St. Clair Bourne, documentaiy filmmaker: The 
film is well-intentioned but it has the classic flaw 
of the white left in that it's just white people 
talking to white people. It does expose the radical 
right but it doesn't provide a context, so it leaves 
people feeling ambiguous about it. If that's the 
filmmakers' intent then that's good, but I think 
they think they are actually exposing the mali- 
ciousness of these people, which they do in a way 
but it's limited because there's no context. 



At the Cohoctah, Michigan, 
gathering of the Ku Klux Klan 

and sympathizers, a bust of 

Adolf Hitler was given a place 

of honor, filmed by the 

makers of Blood in the Face. 

Photo: Charlie Arnot, courtesy Right 
Thinking Productions 





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This film speaks to the lack of creativity by 
leftist artists and why the left doesn't make many 
inroads among the nonwhite people. They say the 
same things in the same corny ways. I can't say 
that they're wrong. They have good intentions. 
But they just can't get out of their own cultural 
context, even when they think they have. 

Chancey: Is it not also possible that there is 
recognition in the fact that we are looking at white 
people? White people looking at white people 
who are in these aberrant roles is perhaps a very 
compelling thing. In the sixties white people were 
thrown out of certain black circles and told to go 
fix their own backyard. Isn't this film to a certain 
extent, at the same time that it's angering black 
people, also saying to white people, "For God's 
sake, fix your own backyard"? 

Derosby: There's a large group out there who are 
less clear-headed on how they feel about civil 
rights versus the oppressive actions of hate-mon- 
gering groups, and I think the film could push 
them in either direction. I also think that the 
independent media community wants to stand for 
something more than that. The notion that we 
could recruit a handful of people for the radical 
right is something I feel profoundly uncomfort- 
able with, even if it's only a handful. 

Chancey: People say, "Wouldn't you feel a re- 
sponsibility if people started writing to these orga- 
nizations saying they wanted to join?" I have to 
state it in the reverse: By not showing this film are 
we going to prevent something that is going to 
happen anyway, when there are also millions of 
people who could be better armed with the knowl- 
edge that there are groups out there like this, and 
that they have got to be dealt with? 

Derosby: There were a number of people in- 
volved in the discussions at Media Network who 
said, "Look, what's at stake here is my well-being 
as I walk down the streets of Brooklyn, New York. 
That's what we're dealing with. I've been victim- 
ized before, it will happen again." These were 
blacks, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, people of reli- 
gious difference. Those are the terms on which 
this film deserves to be judged, because that's the 
terrain in which this film chooses to toil. 



Jennine Lanouette is a freelance writer living in 
New York. 



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16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1991 




PRESERVING YIDDISH CINEMA 

The National (tenter for Jewish fum at Brandeis 



KAREN ROSENBERG 



A once-thriving Yiddish-language film industry 
ended in the forties, with the mass slaughter of 
Jews in Europe and the assimilation of Jews in the 
Americas. But in the fifties, when the audience for 
Yiddish features was watching television, a New 
York producer of Yiddish features in the 1 930s 
and forties named Joseph Seiden scoured labs and 
movie theaters and found part or all of 30 feature 
films made in Yiddish. In 
1976, his private collec- 
tion became the basis of 
the National Center for 
Jewish Film, housed at 
Brandeis University in 
Waltham, Massachusetts. 
While the center now has 
many other films on sub- 
jects related to Jewish life, 
in various languages, it is 
largely known for its Yid- 
dish film collection. 

Fragments of 64 Yid- 
dish features are now in 
the library, but some are 
on flammable nitrate 
stock, and a few others 
are infected with a conta- 
gious virus called acetate 
deterioration — some- 
times known as "the vin- 
egar syndrome" because 
that's what the affected 
film smells like. 

"I could slap prints of 40 films on tape and sell 
them tomorrow, but we have a commitment to 
restore all our Yiddish-language features and to 
make them accessible to audiences. Films on 
nitrate or in danger of immediate disintegration 
are being restored first. And we often spend extra 
thousands to redo the soundtracks and add supple- 
mentary subtitles," executive director Sharon 
Pucker Rivo told me. 

For example, it took about $100,000 to restore 
The Dybbuk, a 1937 Yiddish feature. The operat- 
ing budget of the center is about $150,000 per 
year. Funds have come from the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Council 
on the Arts and Humanities (recently renamed the 
Massachusetts Cultural Council), as well as from 



private sources. But major cutbacks in govern- 
ment funding — such as a recent 80 percent reduc- 
tion in support to the center from the state — have 
made private donors increasingly important. Rivo 
now spends more time on the road, lecturing and 
raising money. 

The restoration of each film is funded sepa- 
rately, often by a donor with special sympathy for 
the project. For example, the family of Miriam 
Saul Krant, who is associate director of the center, 
financed work on the Yiddish film Un'cle Moses 
which was completed in 1989. The Yiddish 




Death dances with the maiden in The Dybbuk, a 
Yiddish-language film made in 1 937 which has 
been newly restored and subtitled by the National 
Center for Jewish Film Library. 

Courtesy National Center for Jewish Film Library 

soundtrack was retranslated into English by Sylvia 
Fuks Fried, who teaches Yiddish at Brandeis, so 
that the subtitles would be comprehensible to 
modern audiences. "My parents were immigrants 
and New York Jews, and this film reflects their 
time," Krant said. "It's a way of honoring their 
memory." 

In addition to restoring films, the center is 
acquiring more prints. Rivo and Krant continue to 
search for Yiddish films. "We think there are 



about 100 Yiddish features, including silents with 
Russian intertitles, but based on Yiddish theater 
pieces and starring principals from the Yiddish 
stage," she noted. Sometimes the exhibition of 
films in the collection leads to new acquisitions. 
For instance, while touring Yiddish films in Bra- 
zil, courtesy of the Goethe Institute, they heard 
about a nitrate print of a rare Yiddish film from the 
thirties with Portuguese subtitles. 

The center also distributes some German and 
Israeli fiction films, some European and US docu- 
mentaries, and early US silents. All of these fea- 
tures and shorts in some 
way concern Jews and Ju- 
daism, but they are not nec- 
essarily focussed on Ju- 
daica. For example, Jack 
Levine, by David Suther- 
land of Newton, Massachu- 
setts, is a documentary on a 
painter of Jewish back- 
ground who uses some 
motifs from the Jewish tra- 
dition. Why does Suther- 
land work through the cen- 
ter? "I haven't been very 
successful in getting my 
film to Jewish institutions 
like synagogues, commu- 
nity centers, and student 
organizations," he told me. 
"The center is getting Jack 
Levine from my distribu- 
tor, Home Vision, which is 
owned by Films, Inc. Rivo 
has dealt with Films, Inc., 
before and handled Jewish 
distribution [of Hollywood features] for them." 
The center has distribution agreements with Swank 
and some of the studios as well. 

Besides its film rental business, the center is 
involved in video sales, marketing half-inch vid- 
eocassettes of material to which it owns the rights. 
Sales to individuals and — at a higher price — 
institutions help the center to amortize costs and to 
fund new preservation projects. But Rivo sees the 
center as a serious cultural venture, rather than a 
commercial one. and so, for example, she will not 
tape and hawk unrestored prints. The center is also 
concerned that films and tapes with sensitive 
content (like anti-Semitic material) be shown in 
an educational context. For example, a video 
introduction is going to be added to a Nazi propa- 



JUNE 1991 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



"How did that melody go? 

Let 1 s hear it again," says a 

character in the 1932 Yiddish 

film Uncle Moses. The 

preservation of such films 

helps keep alive a vanishing 

language and culture. 

Courtesy National Center for Jewish Film 
Library 



ganda film which the center has 
lent to an exhibition at the Mas- 
sachusetts College of Art about 
the Terezin concentration camp. 
A printed guide will be handed 
to all visitors to the exhibition, reinforcing the fact 
that the film is a complete fabrication. Rivo said. 
The film, called Der Fiihrer schenkt den Juden 
eine Stadt (literally , The Fiihrer Gives a City to the 
Jews as a Present), was supposed to be released 
commercially during the Third Reich to assure the 
world that everything at Terezin — Theresienstadt 
in German — was fine and proper. "It has high 
production values and is so convincing that it 
needs an introduction," says Michele Furst of the 
Exhibitions Department at the college, which 
curated the show. Some inmates of the camp made 
clandestine art works that depict another, and 
much darker, side of Terezin. These are the pri- 
mary focus of the exhibition. The center has 
provided a restored print of 1 4 minutes of the film. 




together with a newly discovered eight-minute 
clip it obtained from the Israel Film Archive and 
Yad Vashem, the museum of the Holocaust in 
Israel. 

And, finally, the center offers research oppor- 
tunities to those interested in Jewish history and 
culture. At the center and the American Jewish 
Historical Society, also located at Brandeis, are 
film posters, stills, and papers related to Jews and 
the movies. Also, about 3,000 cans of film are 
owned by the center, and most of it is available for 
study. "People must come to us to see material that 
is fragile, rare, sensitive in its content, or that 
hasn't yet been restored," said Rivo. "There's a 
problem only if we have the sole existing copy of 
a film. Then we'll transfer it to video or make a 



print if the researcher will pay for it." Steenbecks, 
for viewing 1 6mm and 35mm material, and video 
facilities on the Brandeis campus must be booked 
in advance and can be paid for on a sliding scale 
or by the exchange of services. 

Diverse people , ranging from a dancer interested 
in movement in Jewish film to ABC employees 
gathering historical footage for the series War and 
Remembrance, have made use of this resource. 
Critic J. Hoberman told me that no source was 
more important than the center for his book on 
Yiddish film, Between Two Worlds, which will 
appear in conjunction with a series of Yiddish 
films at the Museum of Modern Art in New York 
that opens in November 1991. 

The MoMA series, which draws on the center's 
collection for most of its offerings, is a symbolic 
event. Not only does it demonstrate the acceptance 
of Yiddish-language movies as part of cinematic 
history, it also shows that mainstream US cultural 
institutions are more open to the history of Jewish 
culture. Yiddish speakers may be dwindling, but 
interest in Jewish ethnic identity is by no means 
dying out in the US. Museums, educational in- 
stitutions, and film festivals are exposing new 
audiences to Yiddish-language cinema and to the 
concept of Jewish film in general. 

Karen Rosenberg writes on film for publications 
in the US and Western Europe. Her recent articles 
have appeared in e.p.d. film in Germany and the 
Boston Globe. 




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18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1991 



DIRTY DANCING 

Lewitsky versus 1:he National Endowment for the Arts 



SHELDON SIPORIN 



Obscenity is 
normally a judgment 
of a jury of citizens 
applying "community 
standards." In a 
pluralistic democracy, 
there is no nationwide 
standard of 
obscenity. Thus, the 
NEA rule violated due 
process. 



[Editor's note: This article is presented only for 
the purposes of educating independent film- and 
videomakers and is not to be taken as legal advice .] 

The National Endowment for the Arts' certifica- 
tion requirement is dead; obscenity law is alive 
and well — and "decency" survives. The NEA 
waltz around the parquet of Congress has swirled 
onto the floors of the courts. At least one case filed 
in the halls of justice has tap danced its way to 
decision. As the NEA abandoned its funding 
restrictions, a California federal judge declared 
them unconstitutional. How did this result? And 
where do we go from here? 

Bella Lewitsky Dance Foundation is a well 
regarded modem dance company. It has created 
and performed in the US and foreign countries and 
has been a recipient of NEA grants since 1972. In 
1990 the foundation was awarded an NEA grant 
of $72,000, which was to be used in part for the 
development of new work. The foundation then 
submitted a request for advance in the sum of 
$15,000. Under the restrictive legislation adopted 
in 1989 (Sec. 304 of the Interior and Related 
Agencies Appropriations Act), the foundation 
was required to complete a "certification" that it 
complied with all "Terms and Conditions" of 
grant awards. This was the infamous certification 
which many arts organizations refused to sign. 
The "Terms and Conditions" included a require- 
ment that grant recipients certify that none of the 
funds awarded would be used to "promote, dis- 
seminate, or produce" material which might be 
considered "obscene" in the judgment of the NEA. 

The Lewitsky Foundation manager took this 
stricture in stride. She completed the certification. 
However, she crossed out the paragraph contain- 
ing the obscenity provision and initialed it. The 
foundation actually received the $ 1 5,000 advance 
it had requested. Belatedly, an alert attorney for 
the NEA spotted the stratagem. A harsh letter was 
sent to the foundation, advising them that they 
were bound by all terms of the grant. The founda- 
tion might have opted to spend the money anyway 
and incur NEA wrath. Instead, the foundation 
filed a lawsuit in US District Court (for the central 
district of California). The lawsuit sought to have 
the advance certification rule struck down as 
unconstitutional. Judge John Davies, in this bi- 
centennial of the Bill of Rights, granted the 
foundation's motion for summary judgment. 

THE FIFTH AMENDMENT 

The judge relied in part on guarantees contained in 



the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment, in 
addition to protecting against "self-incrimination," 
also guarantees "due process." Here, Judge Davies 
found that the provisions on obscenity were un- 
constitutionally "vague." This violated the due 
process right of "fair warning": One should not be 
penalized for doing something that is not clearly 
forbidden. The Lewitsky Foundation had no 
telepathic power to "mind read" the NEA to leam 
what they thought was obscene. The NEA might 
be able to act selectively or arbitrarily since the 
standards were unclear, and that is unfair. A well- 
intentioned filmmaker trying to create a masterful 
and explicit film biopic of, for example, Marilyn 
Monroe, might cross the line. So might Lewitsky. 

But the NEA had anticipated this logic. Ac- 
cordingly, the NEA lawyers said that they were 
adopting the standards of the leading US Supreme 
Court case on obscenity, Miller vs. California 
(413 US 15, 1973). Miller set forth the appeal- 
ingly offensive test of obscenity, which cynics 
term the I-know-it-when-I-see-it rule. Miller up- 
held the criminal conviction of an entrepreneur 
who made unsolicited mailings of illustrated 
brochures hawking his books and films on topics 
like "marital intercourse." The court found the 
brochures (which depicted masturbation and 
anality) to be obscene under a three-pronged test. 
Something is obscene if it 1. appeals to prurient 
interests, 2. is patently offensive, and 3. lacks 
serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific 
value. 

The NEA, by adopting the obscenity definition 
of the US Supreme Court, felt it tangoed on firm 
ground. Yet, the three prongs of Miller are a 
tricky — one might say devilish — test. How does 
Lewitsky, or a filmmaker, use this test to satisfy 
the NEA? Can something be "appealing" and 
"offensive" at the same time? Maybe Freud would 
know. 

Judge Davies, whateverhis philosophical bent, 
was not in a position to find Miller unconstitu- 
tionally "vague." However, he tuned into the 
procedural safeguards afforded by Miller which 
were unavailable to the NEA grantee. First, even 
if the NEA declared it adhered to the Miller test, 
there was nothing to make this policy binding. 
Also, legal obscenity turns on a full adversarial 
trial with defined rules and an impartial judge. 
Lastly, obscenity is normally a judgment of a jury 
of citizens applying "community standards." In a 
pluralistic democracy, there in no nationwide 
standard of obscenity. Thus, the NEA rule vio- 
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THE INDEPENDENT 19 



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One should not be 
penalized for doing 
something that is not 
clearly forbidden. The 
Lewitsky Foundation 
had no telepathic 
power to mind read 
the NEA to learn 
what they thought 
was obscene. 



THE FIRST AMENDMENT 

An artist, whether performer or filmmaker, must 
have freedom to explore and experiment. The 
purpose of government funding of the arts is to 
nourish the independent growth of creative indi- 
viduals, not stifle it. Artists are subject to starva- 
tion, not to mention abuse and rejection. The 
patron's role is to promote, not proscribe. Judge 
Davies noted the "chilling effect" upon an artist, 
the "fear of violating the vague terms of the 
certification," which might inhibit the creativity 
of those who are warmed by the NEA hearth. One 
can't pirouette with cold feet. 

The NEA argued that other funding is avail- 
able, that the NEA is not the only grant-awarding 
authority. Judge Davies pointed out the reality 
that much NEA support requires "matching" grants 
or cofunding. NEA outcasts might lose their sec- 
ondary funding with the loss of the NEA "impri- 
matur of merit." The Rockefeller Foundation, 
which itself makes grants to artists, joined in the 
lawsuit as amicus for this very reason. The private 
grantor is not totally divorced from the judgments 
of the NEA. You promenade your partner. 

SUBSIDIES 

There is another issue, somewhat more subtle, 
raised by the NEA, which has significance beyond 
this case. NEA counsel argued that there is no 
right, constitutional or otherwise, to receive an 
NEA grant. Government may giveth, and it may 
taketh away. It may award money to one but not 
another. I may be, at least in my mind, a talented 
and promising filmmaker with a message dying to 
be said, yet the government is not obligated to 
fund my exercise of free expression. It need not 
supply film stock or ballet slippers. 

This is true. Judge Davies pointed out that, 
nevertheless, government may not deny a benefit 
to a person on a basis that infringes upon consti- 
tutionally protected interests, especially free 



speech. The US Supreme Court asserted this in the 
case of Perry v. Sindermann (408 US 593, 1972). 
That matter dealt with an untenured college teacher 
in Texas who alleged that he was denied reap- 
pointment because he publicly disagreed with the 
Board of Regents. Davies concluded that "once 
the plaintiffs were chosen for grants, on the basis 
of artistic merit, the government may not place 
restrictions" which violate the First Amendment. 
The artist' s right of expression is inviolate, whether 
writ on paper or done en pointe. 

Judge Davies' logic in Lewitsky seems sound. 
Despite action by Congress to remove the certi- 
fication requirements confronted by Lewitsky, such 
issues are not quite dead. There is litigation in 
New York raising issues parallel to those of 
Lewitsky. New School for Social Research vs. 
Frohnmayer, an action brought in Manhattan 
Federal Court, was recently settled out of court to 
the tune of Lewitsky. The NEA agreed not to apply 
the old certification standard. 

A fox trot with the fast-stepping NEA may 
indeed entail dancing with wolves. A lull in the 
tempo is not the end of the ball. The current NEA 
authorizing legislation contains prefatory language 
which calls on the NEA to "develop" regulations 
ensuring that funded work takes into consider- 
ation "general standards of decency and respect 
for the diverse beliefs and values of the American 
people." To date, no such regulations exist. The 
phrase "general standards of decency" has less 
substance than the term "obscenity," or so a judge 
like Davies might hold. Perhaps that language is, 
as lawyers say, "mere verbiage." Recently, the 
American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit in Los 
Angeles federal district court on behalf of per- 
formance artists Karen Finley, Holly Hughes, 
Tim Miller, and John Fleck challenging the de- 
cency language. The issues raised are similar to 
those raised in Lewitsky. 

There is also a provision which requires an 
artist or institution to give back Endowment funds 
if the funded work is found by a court to be 
criminally obscene after exhaustion of appeals. 
The violator may then be barred from funding for 
three years. Recall that the standard of obscenity 
is the wispy Miller test, and one may become a 
trifle nervous, perhaps chilled. Those triple tines 
are cutting. 

Filmmakers should be aware that states often 
have criminal and civil obscenity statutes that 
cover both literature and motion pictures. For 
example, New York State penal code section 235 
and CPLR section 6330 have been invoked by 
district attorneys and corporation counsel, usually 
against "hard core" porn. Redlich v. Capri Cin- 
ema (43 Ad2d 27, 1973) was a typical case which 
dealt in part with Behin